Tsimbita and other Tinos sweets
Tinos sweets, made with the island’s limited resources, are astonishing for their originality.
Tsimbita: These microscopic refined pastries belong to the category of Easter sweets made of fresh cheeses, in this case unsalted ‘petroma’. What’s different about the Tinos version – as opposed to those of other Cycladic islands, like ‘meletinia’, ‘myzithropitakia’ – is both the feather-light fyllo, which has many very elegant pleats (rolled with the aid of a toothpick), and the cheese, which is favoured with mastiha, cinnamon and orange.
Xerotigana (literally dry fries): Simple pastry squares made of flour, raki, water, salt and oil, deep fried in olive oil and drizzled with honey and chopped almonds, which resemble ‘diples’ and ‘psathoura’ (the Byzantine psathiria). In the old days girls used to cut the pastry into strips and shape them into bows, roses and other shapes. They are especially popular at holidays, church fairs, weddings and baptisms.
Karydota: A small sweet made of walnuts, flour, sugar, rosewater and mastiha, baked in the oven and dusted with confectioner’s sugar.
Seskoulopitakia: Very unusual little pies made with chard, rice, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, grape must syrup, they fall somewhere between sweet and savoury.
Pastelia: Sesame bars with honey wrapped in lemon leaves.
Psarakia: Among the island’s tastiest fasting sweets (no dairy, eggs or butter), these have the shape of a little fish and are filled with finely chopped walnuts, toast crumbs, orange peel and spices. They are fried in olive oil and served sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.
Loukoumia: Known to the West as Turkish delight.
Halva: Sesame seed paste with almonds.