Masticha (pronounced mah-stee-kah) has been made by monks in the monasteries of Chios, Greece since the 15th century. It was an offering to God and a sweet treat for fellow monks and visitors. Today you can find masticha throughout Greece. At gourmet markets, at the airport, while still made by local producers on Chios itself.
Taste and Aroma of Chios Masticha
Mastichochoria, an area of Chios on Chio’s north-western coast renowned for its production of mastiha. The inhabitants of Chios produce a variety of products from mastic gum. One product that’s particularly esteemed is mastiha, called sweet tears in Greek. It is extracted from small pieces of mastic chewed into pulp and then stuck onto cold surfaces where it hardens as it dries. From there it can be grated to produce mastic powder. This process creates a very aromatic substance with medicinal qualities. It has been used since ancient times as medicine or perfume but also goes well with coffee or tea. Whether you want to use mastic as chewing gum or make your own ice cream at home, you can choose from various types of chewable mastiha.
Masticha is known for its high antioxidant content, as well as for containing iron and calcium. In some studies, masticha has been shown to improve memory and stamina when taken regularly. Chios mastichas are traditionally made by hand, but machines have come into common use in recent years. The sap-like liquid that collects after tapping a mastic tree is known as mastic gum or gum mastic.
Cooking with Masticha
A Unesco World Heritage food product, masticha is a Greek candy made from mastika. Which is gathered from mastic trees that grow on Chios, a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea. Pronounced mas-TEE-kah or mas-tee-KAH, mastika was once valued as a medicinal remedy for everything from sore throats to intestinal gas. Indeed, it can be eaten by itself, added to plain yogurt or ice cream, and stirred into coffee. If you’re lucky enough to visit Greece during one of its festivals dedicated to mastichas—and in particular Karythopoli (mastic festival)—you’ll likely find many treats being served up using chiosmastiha.
Visit Chios during your Greece Yacht Charter Vacation and enjoy a Masticha Tour or purchase a bottle of Chios Masticha in Athens or at the airport. We love it.
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