I really eat bergamot for day to dawn…

…. and I write poems so as to fall in love rightly,  Odysseas Elytis says.*

 To fall in love you have to write poems of course, and the bergamot’s flavor explosions do pull the night away!

In another poem, he writes:  

You bite bergamot and then you drink drink drink cool water, coffees,

and a never- ending cigarette  like Greece.**

Naming bergamot, cool water, coffee and cigarette, the Nobel Prize-winning Greek poet  legitimates a Greek identity and culture rooted in  fragrances,  flavors and senses. 



(Photo credit: Mariana Kavroulaki)

Speaking for myself, when I say pergamonto all things become islands of spoon sweets,  liqueurs,  mixtures of salt and dried zest, and bergamot cookies.
But they are finally here… The  bergamot oranges with the rough thick surface are here, waiting to be  the most intoxicating spoon sweet. 
I bought 15 beautiful pergamonta from the farmers market and the first thing I did with my treasure was a not at all sweet spoon treat.

7 bergamots

300 gr. sugar

2 1/2  cups of water

juice of 1 lemon

The classic recipe uses 900 gr sugar for 7 bergamots, but I’ m not a big sugar person so I reduced it to 300gr.
Wash and dry the bergamots. Grate them to get rid of the bitter layer of the peel. Keep the zest in the refrigerator for a future use in cakes, cookies, puddings and custards. With a knife slice the skin of bergamots in eighths and pull each piece from the fruit. Cut pieces in half , across the width.

In a large pot bring about ¾ of water to a boil. Add the  peels and after 3-4 minutes remove them and drop in a large pot filled with cold water. Leave them for 10 hours. Remove from the water and dry them.

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water, the lemon juice and sugar to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the  peels and cook them until tender (15-20 minutes). Remove the peels carefully and bring the liquid to a rapid boil and cook stirring, until thickened slightly. Add the peels and boil them for 2 more minutes.

Sterilize a large jar, pack the peels in it, pour the very hot syrup over them and cover the jar. Store the jar in the refrigerator.

This spoon sweet  has a unique sharp clear and refreshing taste, however if you don’t like its bitterness you should try the classic bergamot spoon sweet recipe.   

You can eat it by itself  but it’ s also great with yogurt or a soft white cheese with rich and slightly sweet flavor.  Use it in custards, rice puddings, cakes and nut filled fyllo desserts.

* The water of resemblance. The Collected Poems of Odysseus Elytis, Transl.  Carson J.; Sarris N., p.560.

** p. 589.

Bergamot Orange on Foodista


10 thoughts on “I really eat bergamot for day to dawn…

  1. Funny Mariana! I just found some “boosfeir” at the middle-eastern market yesterday! I was so excited because here even the upscale organic wholeffods store does not sell it! Yeah! (I am assuming we are talking about the same thing!)

  2. Melissa, bergamot orange is a fruit both strange and familiar (you find it in perfumes and Earl Grey tea but it’s rare to find it in its natural form). Needles to say, even if you’ve never seen it, you may recognize its flavor from Earl Grey tea.

  3. The closest I have come to bergamot is in the Early Grey tea. Its distinct flavor is very pleasing, even in the tea. I am guessing, I would love it in its natural form. I’ll have to check to see if my specialty market has these bergamot oranges.

  4. Marianna, I only found bergamots once in the farmers’ market last year and my daughter keeps begging me to make some more. I hope to find some this year as well.

  5. Nihal, is bergamot used in Turkish candies or desserts? Any information on this subject will be much appreciated!

  6. Ήβη, αν το ήξερα θα σου αγόραζα από τη λαϊκή. Η περίοδος που εμφανίζονται στην αγορά είναι δυστυχώς τόσο μικρή!!

  7. What have I been missing? As you noted in the above comments, I’m familiar with bergamot only from Earl Grey tea. I apparently lacked sufficient curiosity to ask where bergamot oil came from! I would love to taste this spoon sweet.

  8. Moreover, bergamot has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant and antibiotic properties and its oil is widely used in aromatotherapy. Warning: bergamot oil is severe phototoxic when used undiluted by sensitive individuals who then go out in the sun.

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