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Monday, October 17, 2011

Mastiha in use Tip 2: Culinary profile

Chios mastiha is one of the oldest known spices in the Mediterranean and lends its distinctive aroma in many foodstuffs. Mastiha has been traditionally used as a flavouring for festive breads, brioches and biscuits. In certain areas of Greece, mostly of the Aegean Sea, mastiha is often used as a flavouring for Easter sweets. In the northern part of the country, it is also used in confectionery, mostly for mastiha-flavoured desserts and for a delicious ice-cream known as kaimaki, which has an unusual chewy and stringy texture thanks to the addition of Chios mastiha as a thickening agent. But modern Greek chefs have proved that this spice with its unique aromatic, wood- and pine-like, exotic taste can go along with almost everything, from tomatoes in a tasteful sauce to white wine and lemon in most delicate sauces, and even to chocolate with which it makes a perfect match. Moreover, mastiha makes an important dietary supplement especially in cases of lack of trace elements.

In Cyprus they even use it to flavour bread. In Lebanon and Syria they make a sort of traditional mastiha-flavoured cheese.
For Arabs, mastiha is considered as a great luxury for flavouring food, sweets or milk. As a spoon sweet, mastiha is served in a particularly traditional way, inside a glass of water, a version known as ypovryhio (=submarine).

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