The narrow strait separating Paros from the much-smaller Antiparos takes just five minutes to cross from the harbor of Pounta on the larger island. Viewed on a map, Antiparos is just a dot—but this depiction belies its charms. Rolling hills covered with aromatic wild thyme, dittany, and scrub; small fields sown with vegetables and carefully cultivated vineyards on terraces created with stone walls. Traces of a flourishing Neolithic civilization have been found on the now-uninhabited neighboring islets of Saliagos and Despotiko. The Cave of Antiparos, where the sea has pounded the limestone for millennia to shape it into impressive stalactites and stalagmites, guards within it the island’s history. The breath of time brushes us at the medieval kastro, where local craftsmen have embellished the austere Cycladic architecture with elements from Venetian rule. A boat tour of the island reveals sea caves, secluded beaches, and gorgeous coves with emerald waters. Fresh local catch, sun-dried octopus, amber-colored wine, aromatic tsikoudia (a distilled spirit), ksinomithra and touloumotiri cheeses, pickled capers are abundant on the table. Free-range rooster is transformed into coq patido when slowly cooked in a wood-burning oven with stale bread, kefalotiri cheese, cinnamon, cloves, pearl onions, chicken livers, potatoes, and raisins. Sweet mizithra cheese, sugar, thyme honey, and cinnamon are kneaded into the dough used to bake the crescent-shaped raviolia filled with honey, nuts, and sesame that once cooled are drizzled with tsikoudia and dredged with confectioner’s sugar.

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