While only small parts of Tinos are ideal for agriculture, it manages to produce delicious grapes which yield exceptional wines as well as molasses out of grape must. A by-product of wine production is raki or strofilia, strong alcohol that awakens the senses.
Olives are also part of the diet on Tinos and can be prepared or marinated in different ways. Different types of figs are grown, then sun-dried to produce a delicious dried fruit that's bursting with flavour.
Personal gardens are full of trees, from citrus and pear to almond, plum and pomegranates, the fruit of which enriches the island's menu and creates a more organic, literally home-grown Mediterranean element.
Local cheeses are always present at dinner, including the strong kopanisti, the dry myzithra, different round cheese balls, sklavotyra and more. There are also cheeses classified as 'boiled cheeses' which taste much better than they sound. The cheese mixture is boiled, then left to set in small baskets. Some cheeses are left unsalted, to be eaten with sugar or figs, but they must be consumed quickly before spoiling (For more on Tinos' dairy products call +30 22830 23289).
Pork is also prepared or cured in different ways to produce everything from suckling pig to sausages and hams, which are quite delicious. Fresh fish is served in local tavernas, so are many other traditional products such as cheese, pork and sun-dried tomatoes.
Although there is no formal industry that makes honey, many produce it in the traditional way yielding a high-quality product that is delicious. For information contact the apiarian cooperative of Tinos, Address Kapodistriou 5, Telephone 22830-25477
On the sweeter side, around Easter time the locals make 'lychnarakia' or sweet cheese pies flavoured with orange, vanilla or cinnamon. Another surprise around Christmas time is 'foinikia', made with thyme honey produced locally. By the port of the main town but tucked away in the alleyways there is a delicious patisserie that makes heavenly almond balls and other local sweets.
While not known as a wine-producing island, Tinos actually offers very good white wines, known as aspropotamisio and askathari. There are also some retsina (resin) wines for the more adventurous.
Be sure to visit Eleni's Place in Komi (Tel. +30 22830 51775) which offers local fare like special liqueurs, sun-dried tomatoes, delicious capers, a variety of jams and sweets, and various pickled foods. Check out the aromatic plants and herbs while there too.