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Aug 11
Last Updated on 22 September 2011

Sweets

Grapes, oranges, pistachios, almonds, figs, walnuts, sour cherries, bitter oranges, bergamots, apples, quince, cherries, famous Chian tangerines, mastic... Chios has always been well known for the great variety and quality of its seasonal fruits.

At first, many ways of preservation were used to keep these fruits longer throughout the year, such as the basic boiling and storing with syrup method. Gradually, more spices and herbs were used, although with the introduction of sugar other natural sweeteners such as honey or molasses lost their role. However, sugar also brought with it its secrets and the Persian and Arabic recipes were combined with the Chian ones with an amazing result.

Altogether, these methods resulted in a variety of tastes and recipes still kept to today. First, these traditional spoon sweets recipes were used only at home, but after some years they became the base of the production of large manufacturers.

With the Chian mastic combined with sugar, for instance, a spoon sweet is made known as hyporvrychio, which since the last century has been spread in the Greek Diaspora gentry's estates and mainly in Constantinople as the welcome sweet and it is still the official treat in the Patriarchate today.

Furthermore, all these sweets also played a central role in social life. Food culture believes that eating is more than just a basic need and, in the same way, with Chian spoon sweets there was some kind of semiotics that associated the different facts of life with the color and the kind of sweets offered in each occasion... just as with flowers or candles, for instance, white sweets were served for marriages, dark sweets for mourning, and colorful sweets for celebrations.