Sunday, October 18, 2009
The Great New York Candy Extravaganza, Part III
After leaving Economy Candy with our haul, we decided to check out the neighborhood and the interesting little shops. One place made me stop and look. It was called Mastihashop, and at first glance, it looked like a place that sold fancy little soaps and beauty products. But then something on the sign caught my eye; it said "candy."
Indeed, the shop did sell things like creams and soaps, but they also had a bunch of samples out of their food products, including chocolate and gum.
"Would you like to hear about Chios Mastiha?" the woman behind the counter asked.
Well, yes, I certainly would, because I had no idea what the heck this place was.
Turns out this was the "Official Shop of the Chios Masthia Growers Association," and all of the products contain, you guessed it, Chios Masthia, a "resinous crystal granule from the Pistacia lentiscus tree." It's more widely known as gum mastic.
Talk about a niche market.
The woman at the shop was very nice and offered us all sorts of different samples. I tried the original, straight-from-the-tree granules, which are sold as a natural gum. They tasted like chopped up wax lips.
In the end, I bought a small square of chocolate, a hunk of Turkish Delight and a Honey Pie with Almonds. The nice lady threw in a free box of Fama Fresh gum.
I haven't tried any of it yet, but I will certainly report back. I wouldn't want you to miss out on this most unusual ingredient. It's very strange to have a shop based entirely on one obscure ingredient, although I suppose it's not unlike some small shops in New England that only sell things made with maple syrup. In the meantime, if you want to check it out for yourself, visit www.mastihashopny.com.
Let me know what you think.