Nature has its own rhythm in the Cyclades — a back-and-forth of abundance and scarcity. The landscape can be quite harsh, with dry soil, a frugal sea at times, or sometimes too wild to even think about, and a flat absence of mountains creating a sometimes unforgiving wind. But we can think our way around this, working with nature to harness what it gives us — everything it gives us, from nose to tail — for when we need it.
We can preserve, sun-dry, ferment, pickle. These Cycladic techniques arose out of necessity, but we cherish what they can do to flavour, to texture. Something fresh is in the moment, but a pickled something or a sun-dried whatever is a jump in time. Ripened by a younger sun, dried by a different wind.
“Let’s take a tomato. I believe they are at their freshest around July. But preserve that tomato and by October it has changed into something different — which goes very well with grilled sardines and a vinegar and rosemary dressing.
And that’s exactly how we try to reflect certain moments across the seasons, like a movie from first course to dessert. That’s the story of the Cyclades that we’re trying to tell.”
– Athinagoras Kostakos –
Culinary Director At Nōema