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Mastic the tears of Chios

Aegean greece ● Chios ● Greece ● 13 July 2016

The mastic of Chios is a natural resin which comes from the bark and the branches of skinos tree. The emission which is done by carving the bark with a sharp tool. Mastic appears like a tear from the carved surface and flows in the ground. When it has this form it is sticky and transparent liquid, it takes about 15-20 days to become solid. The solid tear, is like a small crystal and at the beginning its flavor is bitter, which is soon substituted by a unique aroma.

The hardness of the Mastic depends on the temperature of the atmosphere, the time of its exposure in nature and on the size of the tear. When the flow of the Mastic is continuous, we have smaller but harder tears.

Mastic, of course, gave its name to the medieval settlements of southern Chios, often described as Mastic villages. Only in these villages, Skinos the mastic bearer tree, can survive. Even today, its exploitation is the main source of income for the inhabitants of this area.

Mastic of Chios has been characterized as a P.D.O.* (protected with designation of origin) according to the European Union legislation. According to the above legislation, the mastic is protected with the prohibition of any competitive imitation which could steal the fame of the Designation of Origin.

*P.D.O. can be characterized the product, whose characteristics are closely and exclusively related with the environment of the location it is produced and its production, alteration, processing is done within a fringed geographical region.

Mastic is used as an aromatic ingredient in chewing gums, breads, liqueurs, desserts. It is well know for it healing properties that is why is had also a wide application in medical products and even in the cosmetic sector. A hole series of beauty products has been created with the addition of mastic, body creams, soaps, face creams, shower gels etc.