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Mastic, Mastic, and, yes, Mastic

Nov 12 2015

Mastic, Mastic, and, yes, Mastic

Many chefs are known for their iconic flavor combinations. Pierre Herme and his Lychee, Raspberry, and Rose “Isphahan” theme immediately comes to mind. Though I didn't come up with it myself, since it is part of the Greek vernacular, I would still hope that people will always link me to Pistachios, Sour Cherries and Mastic, since that is my favorite. I haven't quite coined the name for it as a theme, but there is time for that. The mastic's herbal/camphoric/healing essence contrasts beautifully with any yogurt/milk base, the pistachio warms it up with nuttiness, and the sour cherries give it the acidic zing that makes it all mean something. If you haven't tried mastic yet, now is a great time to come by the shop for some of our mastic products.

There is a joke with my friends and family, that whenever I make something, the flavor is usually mastic. I chew on mastic, I use mastic shampoo, conditioner, soap, sunscreen, lotion bars (made specially for me, but soon for you too), and I drink mastic coffee, water, and liquer. It truly pervades through almost all aspects of my life. Although Mastic is really good for you, I don't think it was only for the health benefits that I started my mastic obsession. It was more the flavor and scent that have always lured me to buy all sorts of mastic products. Whenever I pull something to my nose and it has mastic, there is no further debate, I always buy it.
Mastiha, as it is known in Greek, is a natural, raw resin from the island of Chios. Though the Pistacia Lentiscus tree can grow throughout the Mediterranean basin, it is only in the Southern half of the island of Chios that the “tears”, as the pieces of resin are known, have their therapeutic benefits. They have antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a natural cure-all. When the raw Mastiha tears are ground up, they can be used as a spice in cooking, where they will release their camphoric aroma. Traditionally, the spice is used in Greek Easter cookies and taffy, but nowadays many chefs are embracing mastiha for savory dishes as well.
We now carry the large “Tears” at the shop, as well as the Mastiqua, and soon we will also have sunscreen for the Summer. And, of course, we have our Mastic Coffee- a ritual everyone should embrace.