Mastiha "the drop of trees"
Chios Mastiha is a resinous sap that comes from the mastic trees of the Greek island of Chios. It is a natural and a rather aromatic resin that falls in the ground in drops, from scratches caused by the sharp tools of cultivators.The mastic tree is a shrub 2 – 3 meters high and it has a very slow development. Only when it reaches 40 – 50 years of life is ready for cultivation. Mastic trees are mainly found in the Mediterranean. However, the island of Chios is the only place that has such a supreme quality of resin. The characteristics of the ground, the climate and the traditional techniques of cultivation make Chios Mastiha a unique product. Any attempt to extend the cultivation of mastic trees outside the borders of Chios has failed.
According to folk tradition and religion, Saint Isidore was condemned to death by Romans because of his Christian identity. He became a martyr in front of the mastic trees that started weeping at the event of his death. The tears of the mastic trees became the resin drops of mastiha.Mastiha has been widely known since ancient Greece. Its therapeutic properties are supported by the contemporary scientific society. Its antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti – inflammatory action make it exceptionally beneficial in disorders of the peptic system and oral hygiene. It's skin regeneration and wound healing power have made mastiha a protagonist in cosmetology, especially in producing soaps, facial and body creams.
Mastiha is also an important cooking ingredient for Greeks. Mostly used in baking and in pastry, mastiha is synonymous to the Greek tsoureki – the Easter festive sweet bread- and Kaimaki ice cream – an aromatic and chewy summer delight. Today mastiha is also commonly used in the contemporary Greek modern cuisine as a unique aromatic spice. The key to success is to use only a small portion of mastiha in order to maintain balance and avoid bitterness.In sweets or in savory, in drinks or in gum, mastiha is the aroma of the Aegean mixing flavors and memories from the past and bringing them up to date.