“In 1512, Pope Julius II, wishing to flatter the young king of England Henry VIII, sent to him a galley full of Chios products: wine, black and red marble, almonds, honey, oil, rose water, mastiha raki and natural mastiha” – Chios legend
The lentiscus (Pistaca Lentiscus var Chia) is an evergreen bush of 2-3m. height, that is growing slowly and gains full growth after 40-50 years, reaching 5 m. height in the aged plant. The lentiscus constitutes main element of the vegetation in the Mediterranean basin countries, but only in Southern Chios, in the Mastiha villages, the soil and microclimate’s special features and the traditional cultivation bring such an impressive result and form the uniqueness of this special resin. All efforts to expand the cultivation beyond this limit were fruitless.
Chios mastiha is the resinous secretion of the lentiscus forming a natural, aromatic teardrop-shaped resin, starting from the stem and the big branches, to the superficial sections caused by the producers’ sharp tools. During secretion, the resin takes the form of sticky and transparent liquid and, after 15-20 days when it gets solidified, it becomes crystalline. Its initial taste temporarily is rather bitter but the aftertaste is particular, offering the unique flavor of mastiha.
The mastiha cultivation is registered in 2014 in the list of Unesco intangible cultural heritage of humanity while two products – Chios Masticha and Chios Chewing gum- are Protected Designation Origins (PDO 1997).
All family members take part in the mastiha production. The mastiha production requires work and care throughout the year. The lentiscus should be properly fertilized, trimmed, cleaned on the soil and then duly broidered and gathered. After harvesting, follows the mastiha cleaning by the producers and its commercial processing. It should be underlined that the productive procedure stayed unaltered in time, which relates strongly the mastiha production with the tradition and the beginning of the organic farming.
Chios mastiha has extended applications and uses, being raw material for food and drinks, cosmetics and perfumes. Its uniqueness is reinforced by the multiple uses and the fact that the product was preferred and incorporated in the culture of different people and cultures, especially in the area of Eastern Mediterranean.
- Organic lemon Jam with mastiha: Marmalade with lemon pieces, flavor and taste of Chios Mastiha
- Organic mastiha submarine: traditional spoon sweet, served in waters, known as submarine
- Organic Loukoumi with mastiha: traditional sweet with unique flavor and taste of Chios Mastiha
- Organic extra virgin olive oil with Chios mastiha Combination of olive oil with mastiha flavor.