Home » Archive » Volume 5 (2014) » Issue No.2 » Sweet deserts and dishes made of blood from the Greek island of Tinos

Sweet deserts and dishes made of blood from the Greek island of Tinos

Alexandra Foscolou Antonia Matalas

  1. Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Science and Education, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece

Pages: 86-90


Aim: The study documents the tradition of preparing dishes and deli foods which have blood as their main ingredient on a Greek island and addresses the cultural determinants of this practice. Methods: Data were collected during a field study on the island of Tinos, Cyclades, Aegean Sea, via interviews with elder villages and observations. Results: Swine’s blood was used in the past for the preparation of three foodstuffs, a deli-type food, the “blood sausage”, a sweet desert, the “mortadella” and a warm dish, the “fried blood” in conjunction with the ceremonial pig slaughtering (choirosphagia). The mortadella in particular, is still prepared today by elder housewives on Tinos. A historic Venetian influence and the fact that a large portion of the island inhabitants adhere to Catholicism, may explain the use of blood as human food till the present time. Conclusion: Consumption of blood was common on Tinos in the past and was associated with the traditional pig slaughtering. Nowadays, however, blood-containing foods and dishes are scarce in Tinos and blood is viewed by the younger generations with prejudice and dislike.


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