A unique product of the island of Chios.
Chios island is gifted by God and nature with a unique product.(Product with Protected Designation of Origin ) Mastich or Mastiha. (Μαστίχα in Greek). The southern half of the island is covered by a plant, the "mastiha tree" , and the villages in the area are called "the Mastiha Villages. The locals, make incisions on the trunk and branches of the plant, from which the sap comes out like tears, falls on the ground and dries. The ground has been cleaned first and sprayed with lime powder, so insects or vermin are kept away. When it is dried, by the end of summer, it is collected, cleaned, packed and sold as it is or used in a great variety of products, ranging from pastries, cooking, liquors, cosmetics etc. A cooperative, the Mastiha Growers Association, is the main body controlling the commerce of the product. They sell it as it is or use it in other products flavored with it, through a chain of shops in Greece and abroad. The whole area of south Chios smells with the unique perfume.
The uniqueness of the product, and its scarcity, helped the villages and the island prosper from old times. During the years of the Turkish occupation, the island and its inhabitants got special privileges from the Sultan, as he wanted large quantities of Masticha for the women of his harem to chew like chewing gum daily, as by doing so, the "hanoums" had a pleasant breath and the master was pleased. When the islanders joined the rest of Greece during the revolution against the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan was upset and furious and ordered the massacre of the people.
The people of Chios, became international rich merchants from centuries ago with bases at all major commerce ports, they became wealthy shipowners and still are and helped the island with their wealth.
I managed to take a few photographs of the trees and the way the product is collected to share them with you.
Γνωρίζετε την Μαστίχα, το μοναδικό προιόν, αποκλειστικότητα της Χίου. Κατάφερα και τράβηξα μερικές φωτογραφίες από τα Μαστιχόδεντρα που υπάρχουν παντού στο νότιο τμήμα του νησιού, για να πάρετε μιά ιδέα πως είναι. Κάνουν τομές στον κορμό του δένδρου, από όπου ο χυμός στάζει σαν δάκρυ στο έδαφος που έχει καθαριστεί και πασπαλιστεί με ασβέστη προηγουμένως, για να απομακρυνθούν έντομα και άλλα ζωύφια, και η μαστίχα συλλέγεται στο τέλος του καλοκαιριού, καθαρίζεται και πάει για το εμπόριο.