Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kyoto, Pagoto Kaimaki and Mastic


Mastic Pudding, originally uploaded by binnur.

In a deserted boulevard at night time in an Arab city, lit by neon street lights, a peculiar company of adults and children were lining up in search for a lost treasure: Gleeda Mastic. The chill of the dessert rolling on the tongue released a strange flavour, familir to the adults who longed for it for years on end; and a new, unforgettable experience to their youngsters who they dragged in their azure-blue Jeep in those streets one summer night in search for a childhood dream from an era long gone.

Comme des Garcons' Series 3: Incense is perhaps one of the most haunting of their entire collection. Amongst the heavily fumed smokes of Avignon and Zagorsk hides a little treasure of sheer light and icy pleasures – Kyoto.

Although it is said to be inspired by Japanese incense ceremonies (Kodo), and named after Japan’s ancient city that cultivates the Japanese traditions of ceremonial arts, Kyoto to me means one thing: “Gleeda Mastic”, meaning Mastic Ice Cream. In Greece this is called Pagoto Kaimaki. The same bush that I have raved about in my last post produces a fragrant gum, transparent pale yellow, brittle and fragile that can be readily powdered to flavour ice cream, puddings and sometimes accompany Sahleb.

Kyoto by Commes de Garcon in a delightful incense scent, that smells more like a steam bath with green leaves than burning and smoke. Although has no mastic listed as a note (according to LuckyScent, it contains notes of incense, cypress oil, coffee, teak wood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, everlasting flower, Virginian cedar), it smells exactly like the resin: sweet-balsamic, fresh, woody-resinous and almost pine-like but less sharp, with hints reminiscent of frankincense yet far less heavy, and a hint of greenness as well. And of course there is the unmistakable “Mastic” odour that has to be experienced on its own, either in the delicious Meditterranean desserts, or simply from the resin itself, which can be easily obtained in most Greek grocery stores. My nose detects also underlining notes of cedar and white musk, but Mastic is definitely the star of the show.

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4 Comments:

At March 28, 2007 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been smelling this note in many of the newer perfumes. Because I am Greek, I recognized it right away, but it remains exotic to most people. I always associate it with visiting relatives; their homes, purses, and clothing were permeated with mastic. They used to carry it around in little sachet bags. My mother hates this flavor, so she never baked with it, but sometimes I crave it madly.

 
At September 09, 2007 9:14 AM, Anonymous Emily said...

This picture was taken from Binnur's Turkish Cookbook here and it belongs to her:

http://www.turkishcookbook.com/2007/02/mastic-pudding.php

I've already notified her. Please take this picture down or give her site credit.


Thanks.

 
At September 09, 2007 9:45 AM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Dear Emily,
Perhaps you are unfamiliar with Flickr etiquette - but binur has enabled people like me to blog her photo, and the photo has all the credits on it just below it. Nobody could possibly think that I've taken it! Besides, I've included links to binur's cookbook and her mastic pudding recipe.
Next time before you try to "threaten" people that you think are stealing copyrights, perhaps you should look more carefully and what they've written and click on the links they've carefully researched and provided in their articles!
All the best,
Ayala

P.s. it would be also kind of you to provide other means of communicating with you, such as your own website or email address, so I don't need to communicate with you over my blog.

 
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