When I first visited Chios in August 2013, I fell in love with its intoxicating fragrances. It is the island of orchards and orange groves, of mastic and jasmine. Mastic and jasmine are in the air as you walk along the pebbled courtyards of this noble island with its gorgeous stone mansions.
The tree that makes the flora of Chios unique is the mastic tree and its sap. The tree is very much like a shrub, with spreading branches and an ashy trunk. It's either light or dark green depending on how old it is. The natural resin, the mastic, oozes from these trees.
The cultivation and processing of mastic is still done today in the old, traditional way. This requires many working hands, time and effort, something which makes the genuine Chios mastic unique. The jobs involve the tapping of the trunk and then the collection of the mastic. This takes all summer and has many stages. First, the ground is cleared and smoothed under each tree. The trunks are cleaned, scraped and swept down. Then, the ground is spread with white earth, particularly in areas with red soil. The white soil is easily separated from the mastic during cleaning. And then, there are quite a few other technical processes for the preparation of the mastic tree.Here are some of the health benefits of mastic gum.
I visited the southern part of Chios, which offers places of amazing beauty as well as lovely beaches. Rolling hills covered with mastic trees hug the sea. What I loved most about Chios, other than mastic, is its pure and unspoilt natural environment