Asked to create a book that featured mastic in every recipe, food-writer and chef Diane Kochilas came up with more than 60 dishes for Mastiha Cuisine. Now registered under European Union Law as Chios Mastiha, a protected designation of origin product, the fragrant resin of the mastic tree has been used in cooking and medicine for hundreds of years. Cochilas describes how mastic is extracted from trees on Chios, forming tear-shaped crystals that must be pounded into powder and can be used to perfume olive oil, water and liqueurs. She takes mastic beyond the familiar terrain of sweets and liqueurs into starters, soups and salads, as well vegetable and meat dishes, all based on the Mediterranean culinary repertoire. Taste the difference that mastic can make to recipes such as whipped feta, beef carpaccio, spinach and orange salad, fish fillets and even souvlaki, to say nothing of classics like creme brulee.
(Ithaca Online, www.ekebi.gr)