Tastes from Greek Island Religious Festival Cooking
A remote chapel that comes alive but once a year on the festival of its Saint, a monastery which breaks its otherworldly silence to welcome the worldly hustle and bustle in celebration, the main church of a small village that celebrates its protector...Wherever anyone has lived the experience of an island festival, they know that in its large pots, a very special chapter of Greek traditional cuisine is being written...
PHOTOS: Ilias Fountoulis, amorgos.com
1. Patatato and koftos from Amorgos. Patatato, one of the most typical dishes from Amorgos, is a goat casserole with potatoes. It is most widely consumed during the Agia Paraskevi festival, at the lower end (kato meria) of the island, on the eve of the festival. At the same place, we also come across ksidato (braised meat and tripe) and "koftos", made from wheat grains and mizithra cheese.
2. Revithada (chickpea stew) from Sifnos. Revithada is considered to be the quintessential Sifnos dish, though variations of it can be found on other islands throughout the Cyclades. Dishes typical of Sifnos festivals include kokkinisto (casserole with tomato sauce) with potatoes or pasta or cod, if the festival coincides with a period of religious fasting.
3. Dolmadakia from Kasos. These dolmadakia are made not only with rice, but also with minced meat and tomato, and can be tasted during the large festival of 15th August in Pera Panagia. Apart from the classic kid goat, you can also try to local pilaf with cinnamon.
4. Keshkek or keshketsi or kishkets from Lesvos. A very special festival dish, made up of a mixture of lamb and beef, what grain, onions and spices. It is cooked in large pots over many hours, until the ingredients mash together.
5. Giorti from Samos. Similar to keshkek, the "giorti" is made with diced lamb or goat, cooked with wheat grains in large pots, until it takes on the texture of porridge.
6. Goat with pasta and warm ryzogalo from Alonnissos. Ryzogalo (rice pudding) made from goats milk is served to those lucky enough to be at the chapel of St Constantine at Psili Rachi on 21 May. However, even on 15 August, visitors can at least enjoy the goat, at the long running festival recreating the traditional wedding.
7. Braised goat from Crete and pilaf made with goat broth. On 6th August, the day of Afentis Christos, braised goat with pilaf "co-stars" in Cretan celebrations, together with roast lamb and potatoes.
8. Goat rasko and Prothesi from Ikaria. Roasted of cooked with a little bit of tomato, the famous local goat from Ikaria is the stuff of legend in local festivals. A very special occasion takes place here, so called "Prothesi", which consists of 1 kilo meat, 1 kilo bread, 1 kill wine and 1 salad, which festival attendees buy. Ikarians traditionally pay for food in religious festivals, which is usually not the case elsewhere.