Journey to Greece in the latest episode of Crush On This! Cindy, Christine and Allison share three fascinating wines from this ancient winemaking country boasting rich tradition, history, culture, food...
The story originally appeared in ATOD Magazine.
Indulging in cuisine, wine, history, and a lot of magicThere is a region of Greece that is worth exploring; a region neighboring Athens that you may not have considered but most certainly should – the Peloponnese. Known for wine, indulgence, adventure and serenity, the Peloponnese is a journey waiting to be discovered.
The three-pronged Peloponnese is considered part of the mainland but is also technically an island. The southernmost part of the mainland in Greece, the Peloponnese is a short drive from Athens, across one stretch of land that connects the two areas. The Peloponnese is home to historical areas of Ancient Olympia, Sparta and Corinth and is a region of mythical stories, ancient sites, wine production, mountains, beaches and more.
My adventure began once I was in my rental car. Yes, they drive on the same side of the road as us but I had heard stories of Greek drivers and their ability to create their own rules on the road. What I had forgotten, once I got out of Athens, is that every sign is written in Greek. Remember when you took algebra and were told that you would never need to use it as an adult? That is how I felt when I learned to sing the Greek alphabet during my fraternity days in college. Of course, I had my GPS ready on my phone, hoping that I could trust it. But, little did I know how useful the Greek alphabet song would be as I navigated through my adventure. With some trepidation, and with the song “alpha, beta, gamma, delta….” in my head, I ventured out on the road.
Chios Mastiha is a natural, aromatic translucent resin produced from the mastic tree, a large shrub, which only grows on the Island of Chios in the southern part of the Greek Islands. With a sweet smell and a pine-like flavor, mastiha also has many health benefits. And, mastiha is the Please The Palate pick of the week.
I first tried mastiha when I went to Greece. Having a small glass of mastiha liqueur, instead of ouzo, is very common as a digestive after a nice meal. And if you buy a pack of gum in the airport or at a local pharmacy, you will find mastiha gum.
The word "mastic" comes from the Greek word "mastichein" which means "to gnash the teeth." Mastiha has been scientifically proven to have beneficial properties and is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It is good for healing wounds and for skin regeneration. It can be a digestive and used in oral hygiene such as toothpaste. Mastiha comes in different forms: crystal, powder, capsules, oil and gum and it also comes in a liqueur.