…. 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.
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.