The island of Chios, in the Aegean Sea, is the 5th largest island in Greece. Chios is a crescent shape island of 325 square miles. Its nickname is the mastic island. In the south of the island are the Mastichochoria, literally the Mastic villages, the seven villages of Mesta, Pyrgi, Olympi, Kalamoti, Vessa, Lithi, and Elata, which together have controlled the production of mastic gum in the area since the Roman period.
The villages, built between the 14th and 16th centuries, have a carefully designed layout with fortified gates and narrow streets to protect against the frequent raids of marauding pirates. Chios has a mild climate and a rich soil. It is precisely in one of these villages that FOS Mastiha was born, with a deeply rooted tradition of cultivation and harvesting which has been around for hundreds of years BC.
The harvesting and distillation process make Mastiha a very unique product that has a delicious, rich taste; a truly drinking delicacy with digestive benefits. In a truly mysterious way, the Mastiha tree only grows in the island of Chios. Only there do the mastic trees "cry" teardrops of resin during the harvest period.
Mastiha now enjoys the "Protected Designation of Origin" status on the island of Chios. Its stamp of approval is proudly featured on every FOS bottle, and attests to the purity of its content that we so proudly refer to as "liquid gold" or "ambrosia".
Mastiha has been used for thousands of years by all civilizations, the Greeks, the Romans, the Ottomans, and many others. From this small Mediterranean island, Mastiha has travelled and conquered the world. In 5th century BC, Hippocrates recommended Mastiha as an excellent digestive, and as a refreshing breathalyzer among other medicinal applications. During the Roman years it is said the wine was spiced with Mastiha.
During the Byzantine years, Chios becomes famous, and Mastiha is known as a luxury item, and emperors favorite drink. It travels accross Europe, and reaches all the big markets from east to west, Constantinople, Damascus, Alexandria, Rome, Paris, London, Florence.
Under the Ottoman Empire, the island of Chios was granted special privileges for the uniqueness of Mastiha. It is said that the Sultan was indulging his Harem with Mastiha.
Every bottle of FOS uses the same distillation and harvesting heritage that has been used for thousands of years, and enjoyed by royalty, emperors, philosophers, sultans, ancient Greeks, and the gods of Olympus.
The production of Mastiha consists of 3 distinct phases
Phase 1: The harvesting period, the Crying Tree harvesting takes place once a year, usually at the beginning of the summer period. Experienced workers deeply rooted in tradition undertake this tenuous and delicate process. The Mastiha trees get pricked and delicately sliced at the surface. It takes several weeks to collect the crying Mastiha resin that falls from those openings in the tree.
Phase 2: the cleaning. Once collected, Mastiha is carefully collected in wooden coffins, covered with cloth, and then sent to a cool warehouse, where women of the villages pick the best quality Mastiha by hand and clean them meticulously.
Phase 3: Distillation, blending, and bottling. Mastiha is mixed with fine quality alcohol and is put in large bronze tanks. The mix is heated carefully by wood fire. The aroma of the extract is unforgettable to any visitor of a Mastiha Distillery. It is then blended with other ingredients, masterfully crafted by family tradition, and flair of the producer of FOS, that is a third generation Mastiha producer. It will be inspected, tested, and bottled in a beautiful bottle, with a distinctive logo that symbolized Greek culture at its best.
A historically rich product is now yours!
Its taste and aroma will captivate you!
We are thrilled to bring you “FOS Mastiha”. It has been prepared with "Frontida ke Agapi", the Greek words for Love and Care.