Wedding Scents from the Island of Chios!
Smart and imaginative wedding planners usually pump inspiration from local culturalÂ and natural treasures, features that are unique or rare and can make a statement. TheÂ magical aura embracing the fifth biggest island of Greece, floating on the easternÂ side of the Aegean Sea, a short breath from Asia Minor, is a great source of creativeÂ ideas for a truly modern wedding. Numerous local products, all giving off charming,Â seductive scents can add up to your special day details, offering unforgettableÂ moments. The aromas coming off from locally grown and exclusively producedÂ Mastic tree resin has been cherished by many nations throughout the islandâ€™sÂ history and at some points Chiots made fortresses in order to protect the crop of thisÂ scientifically known and praised Pistacia lentiscus plant. Nowadays people at itsÂ native southern part of the island, organized in local cooperatives, process this rawÂ resin into many different products such as cleaner pieces of resin that can be chewedÂ like gum, liqueurs that can be offered to the wedding guests and amazing cosmeticsÂ for the brideâ€™s spa before the actual ceremony. Local pharmacists have developed allÂ these recipes for centuries and infused with their scientifically proven benefits theÂ islandersâ€™ luxurious lifestyle. Both they and their guests love to drink the infamousÂ mastic or mastiha liqueur with its exotic flavour, chew the mastic gum for smoothÂ digestion after each â€˜Lucullanâ€™ wedding dinner and feel the flavour and scent insideÂ gourmet dishes and desserts. Along with this one-of-a-kind resin, many other localÂ products can bring with their unparalleled scents euphoria to the couple, their friendsÂ and families at the wedding. A few ideas can make the whole picture for a weddingÂ inspired by Chiosâ€™ aromas.
Just after the ceremony a small buffet can be placed outside the chapel serving localÂ drinks such as iced bitter almond, morello, mandarin and other citrus fruit juices,Â diluted with water along with small desserts, based on almond paste or pastry, andÂ scented with floral water, an extract from roses, orange blossoms and other flowers.Â Some of them taste like macaroons and the most usual ones in weddings are thoseÂ called â€˜rodiniaâ€™ and â€˜massourakiaâ€™. They are either dipped into honey-based syrup orÂ sprinkled with powdered sugar. Recently, a pastry shop made a huge wedding cakeÂ out of these locally made and inspired macaroons, piled up in a form of a cone orÂ pyramid and offered as main dessert after the wedding dinner.
Chios is also known for its home-made spoon sweets, made of fruits, flowers andÂ nuts such as orange, mandarin, bitter orange, fig, pistachio, cherry, rose petals andÂ lemon blossoms, dipped into thick aromatic syrup. Those ones kept in small glassÂ pots, covered on top with white linen and tied with satin ribbons into impressive littleÂ bows are usually offered to the guests after the wedding. If a wedding dinner followsÂ right afterwards, then they usually place them for each one of the guests on the tableÂ next to his dinnerware set with his name printed on little attached tags. Guests areÂ also offered after the wedding a special kind of stuffed-with-nuts-and-chocolateÂ paste, hard-on-the-outside candies called â€˜koufetaâ€™ which in this case can be scentedÂ with Mastic or they can also be replaced with pure Mastic resin pieces, precious andÂ adorable as they are. â€˜Koufetaâ€™ are usually placed inside small tulle pouches tight with a satin ribbon into cute bows. Those pouches can also be adorned with Chiot jasmineÂ flowers featuring an amazing aroma, as well. Alternatively guests at the weddingÂ can be given small jars with honey from a little island very close to Chios which isÂ called â€˜Psaraâ€™. Local producers have also cooperatives and sell this unique product inÂ many stores both in Chios and elsewhere.
As the wedding party goes on people may need more alcohol and that would be theÂ right moment for the famous wine crops of Chios with unbelievable flavor and scentÂ from locally produced varieties of grapes, with most known those originating fromÂ the medieval village of Mesta. Other drinks that are usually offered in such banquetsÂ are â€˜Soumaâ€™ made of figs and â€˜kazanistoâ€™ Ouzo which is also exported in many otherÂ countries. As it seems Chios has a long tradition in wine feasting, fully evident inÂ ancient texts, coins, pottery and paintings.
The wedding dinner menu can be adorably scented with locally produced ingredients.Â Gourmet chefs from all over the world employ the Chiot â€˜weapons of mass seductionâ€™Â which include goat milk, the famous â€˜Mastelloâ€™ cheese, hand-made and kneadedÂ pasta, and pastry scented with Mastic, Anise and other spices, traditions that deriveÂ from predecessors who were living in the closest Asia Minor coast. Inside smallÂ covered baskets, placed as centerpieces on the table, some also put the locally madeÂ caramelized sesame bars called â€˜Pasteliâ€™, for all those who crave sweets and needÂ a variety of them during the banquet. Those baskets adorned with a fresh flowersÂ wreath will look great on the table. Other ideas for decoration are Mastic-scentedÂ candles and rose petals around.
Women in Chios have been rich and this can be explained through the islandâ€™s longÂ maritime tradition and their husbandsâ€™ activities, closely related to Shipping. Some ofÂ the most powerful and wealthy ship owners in the planet originate from Chios andÂ live in Chios for a long time. There are also captains and many other ShippingÂ professionals in this island. Their high income in combination with their long periodsÂ of absence from home, gave women a prominent position in the family. Especially inÂ the past, women in Chios, acting as powerful housewives, did not work but stayed atÂ home and took care of their children and of themselves. It is said that from quite earlyÂ in history, women in Chios had their own spas at home, filling up huge bathtubs withÂ water and rose petals or milk and honey. They had always enough time for their skinÂ care and most of them are described to have juicy contours and velvety soft, fair skin.Â The last decades some local beauty brands took an extra step making product lines -Â based on this old practice and local ingredients – such as Mastic day and night creams,Â serums, essential oils, soaps and hair treatments. Needless to day, that the famousÂ floral or rose petal water we mentioned before is still one of the best ways to removeÂ makeup. Among the most famous brands is Mastic Spa with stores all over Greece, in theÂ USA, Europe and Asia selling products made at the well-known Sodis familyÂ laboratories, and Mastiha Shop owned byÂ the Chios Gum Mastic Growers Association with stores all over Greece, in NewÂ York, Paris and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. All these beauty rituals and products can beÂ perfectly refreshing and rejuvenating for the bride preparing herself for the wedding.Â The final touch on the bridal look will of course be the bouquet and the hairstyleÂ embellished with Chiot Jasmine flowers.
If you now plan to do your Chios-inspired wedding in your country thenÂ find all these products online and for the banquet get the recipes fromÂ the amazing cookbook â€˜MastihaCuisineâ€™ written by chef Diane Kochilas. Otherwise, if the weddingÂ is going to place in Chios, we recommend Argentikon, and encourage you to takeÂ ideas from two other couples getting married in the island (www.benandasimina.com and http://ourgreekwedding.wordpress.com). There are so many beaches and seasideÂ chapels that can make up the perfect, romantic setting for your wedding and thereÂ you can unify all these charming local scents with the saltiness of the sea water in theÂ same way you are going to unite your lives as a happy couple!