Nikos Zoumis

Interview: Vassilis Bonios | Photo: Stavros Niflis

Would a parent ever sell their child?

We’ve heard that the first dough is a ritual for you, some kind of a well kept secret. If a large firm should be interested in buying the rights to your Xylofournos (Wood oven) recipe on condition that you or your family would not ever be involved in bread making again, what sort of an amount would you ask for?
Such a well kept secret as the best way to produce this type of bread required a lot of time and effort. We are proud for our bread and, naturally, we would never sell the recipe. Would a parent ever sell their child? In the same way we would never sell our offspring/recipe.

Do you happen to remember any incident you’ve experienced in the Xylofournos that has made you happy and proud of your work?
There are a number of such incidents. I’ll tell you one of them. One day a father came to the shop with his son to buy a cheese pie, but the boy wanted to buy everything because, as he said, he liked them all. So I ended up offering him a bit of each. This filled me with pride and gave me strength to carry on with my work.

Is there anything you wouldn’t forgive your customers?
I’d be very upset if a customer had a complaint and never told us about it.

How far has the Xylofournos bread travelled? We’re asking because we know you’ve been receiving orders from many places in Greece and abroad.
We regularly send bread to professionals and individuals to many parts of Greece. Foreign visitors to the island buy bread while here and always take some with them.

Do you believe that Parians appreciate the fact that they have been born on an island with such economic growth thanks to tourism? Do they look after their island or are they just enjoying easily gained profits?
The answer to your question is a bit difficult and may displease some. Undoubtedly, tourism has been the moving power of the island’s development but how long can this last? I’ve got the impression that the improvements made to the island stay just on the surface.

Would you like your children to get professionally involved with the Xylofournos?
My children are aged 7 and 10.
I hope and wish that when they grow up and are able to make their own decisions they will keep up the good work with the Xylofournos.

Which of your dreams has not yet come true?
As you also know, due to the economic crisis in our country dreaming is not an easy thing. Personally, God permitting, I’m trying to keep my dreams alive and hope one day to be able to expand my shop so that I can offer better and faster service to my customers, which will also be my pleasure.

Summer 2013