ON THE GREEK ISLAND OF CHIOS, ONE TREE RULES THEM ALL
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Posted by: Dana Walker
It takes a little bit of pressure to lodge the tip of a pick into the bark and pull it across the tree in
a process called kentima, or sewing. Too little force and nothing happens; too much and you risk damaging the tree, drying up its precious resin long before retirement age. The incision should immediately start to shimmer with oozing sap, which will eventually elongate into sticky, glittery tears.
Chios mastiha, or mastic, has a distinct, piney taste that people either love or hate. When it dries off the tree, you’ll find it in opalescent white pieces of varying shapes and sizes. While perfectly edible in this form—a chewy, slow-dissolving candy—it is also consumed in a variety of other ways. One of the most common, especially in Greece, is known as a submarine. A mastic solution, a ghostly translucent white, is wrapped around a popsicle stick in a sticky blob, then placed in a cup of ice-cold water.