The Greek Island of Chios is one with a long and rich history. One of the largest Agean islands, Chios is home to a number of beautiful beaches as well as important historical monuments. That said, Chios’ primary claim to fame is the Pistacia Lentiscus, a kind of tree that produces a plant resin referred to as Chios Mastiha. Chios Mastiha is by far the most important resource on the island. This resin is not only wildly important to the economy of Chios, but it plays a major role in the culture of the island and the people who live there.
The first written accounts of Mastiha come from Herodotus, in the 5th century B.C. Since then, Mastiha has been developed for use in a variety of different products ranging from medicine to food to personal hygiene. Medicinally, Chios Mastiha has significant gastrointestinal and digestive benefits, this means it can help regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels, making Mastiha a widely used product for treating diabetes as well!
Chios Mastiha is used as an ingredient in many food products such as marmalades, pastries, ice creams, chewing gums, Liqueurs, teas, coffees, pastas, and sauces! Celebrity pastry chef Stelios Parliaros even states that the intense flavor of Mastiha rivals that of vanilla!
The residents of Chios use a very specific process to harvest the Mastiha resin from the Pistacia Lentiscus tree. This precise process has been passed down through generations, and is so important to the process and culture behind Mastiha, that the industry is regulated and protected by the Chios Mastiha Growers Association, as well as EU regulations called Protected Designation of Origin. PDO’s are used to preserve products whose natural production, alteration, and processing happen in a specific geographic area.
The wonderful and unique product that is Chios Mastiha is growing in popularity worldwide. EMX Commercial Director Miltiadis Sarantinidis posits that this growth is a self-powered trend as more buyers become concerned for what they put in their body, and look to healthy substitutes to many of the harmful products we see on grocery shelves today.
The production and consumption of Mastiha has directly influenced Chios for centuries, and with a global spotlight being placed on the island, there is surely a long future ahead.
To learn more about Chios Mastiha, follow this link or watch below for an excellent video created by MastihaShop, one of the primary global suppliers of Mastiha products.