Thursday, December 29, 2005
Foodie Gifts: Mastiha and Halva
I was fortunate enough to meet some of my blog readers a while ago! Tülin and Sakos from Greece were in Stockholm for a tabletennis tournament, and we managed to meet up and had some lovely coffee (or tea, actually) at Vetekatten. Being the incredibly sweet and generous people that they are, they had brought gifts! What to bring for a foodie - well, obviously, food.
Do you know what Mastiha is? No? Me either. But I was about to find out!
Mastiha starts as a semi-transparent sap from lentisk trees (actually evergreen bushes) found only in certain areas of the Greek island of Chios. As resinous granules, it was the original chewing gum, and the name "mastiha" is the root word of "masticate," meaning "to chew."
Mastiha is used in sweets, cooking, as a flavoring for liqueurs, and in soap-making, cosmetics, and toothpaste, among others. Recent evidence of its positive effect on ulcers has resulted in a boom in purchases by large pharmaceutical companies.
So, lots of good-for-you properties! I got Mastiha alcohol, and a Mastiha cake (that I haven't tried yet, I'm saving it for a special moment!) - fun!
Read more about Mastiha here.
And, for christmas, I got a package of Halva from Tülin! A traditional turkish dessert, very very sweet and very very good. I believe this is what's also called Turkish Delight - and just what naugthy Edward asks the White Witch for.. yes, I recently watched Narnia...