Kardiani, in the western half of Tinos, is built like amphitheatre on the south slope of Mt. Patelis. With its unbroken view to the sea, it’s rightly considered one of the prettiest villages on the island. Nature has endowed it with abundant water and greenery, and its locals with a similar abundance of charm and good taste. Its houses with their marble decorations above the doors and windows, the narrow arched lanes, lovely churches, aristocratic fountains, all testify to the highly developed aesthetic sense of the people who live here. Walking down the stepped lanes in the village will bring you to the main ‘avenue’. On your left, take a moment to admire the Catholic Church of the Virgin of Kioura or Kyra, which has its feast day on the 25th of March, the Annuniciation. It has a tall, five-storey, marble bell tower and its monumental font bears the date 1777. On the right side of this street there are signs pointing to Demetra’s Kafeneio.
Here, at a spot that’s especially picturesque, Demetra and her family are at your service, ready to offer traditional dishes made from local recipes with their trademark, open-hearted hospitality.
From the right side of the cobbled path next to Demetra’s Kafeneio, the coffee house expands in summer. It climbs up to the terrace opposite where once was located the Kentro Kafeneio, as the marble inscription above the door tells us, and on to four coloured tables under a bamboo pergola where customers can sit in the shade. And when this fills up, more places are commandeered from the nearby general store, which has been shut for years.
Demetra’s Kafeneio may be small and call itself a kafeneio but it has so many tempting dishes and sweets made by the golden hands of Demetra that it could be a taverna. Local cheeses and louza, green beans, pickled artichokes, pies, wild fennel fritters, cockerel, chicken, rabbit, oven-roasted kid are some of the savouries, while among the sweets are various spoon sweets (similar to jams but eaten on their own or with yogurt), ravani (honey-soaked cake), chocolate cake, walnut cake, orange cake and galaktoboureko (custard pie with fyllo). In the winter, you won’t find such variety but Kyra Demetra always has a treat or a sweet for any chance customers.