Honey symbolizes prosperity and fertility. A very traditional symbolism that is deeply rooted in the Greek customs. In fact, today we are taking a journey to the culinary delights that follow the customs and tradition of “honey honey” on our big-honey weddings in the Greek Islands.
Let’s begin our journey from the southern island of Greece, which is also the biggest one, and of course, we mean no other but Crete. Honey is a basic ingredient for eternal happiness in weddings. Therefore, as a custom throughout Crete, the bride and groom during the ceremony eat a spoonful of walnuts with honey. In some villages, this is also provided to the guests as a wish for fertility to the newlywed couple. On every wedding ceremony, you will find the very-well known “xerotigana”, a coiled ribbon of delicate fried pastry dipped in honey.
Actually, the recipe of “xerotigana” is very a simple one and consists of the “star” elements of Greek gastronomy, olive oil, and honey. Keen on reading to find the recipe!
In addition, on another picturesque island of Greece, Rhodes, on the eve before the wedding reception, the bride traditionally prepares “melekounia”, a delicious dessert with honey, sesame and rosewater.
Then, of course, there is the “pasteli”, a concoction made of honey and sesame seeds, which is one of the most traditional Greek delights.
It was an especially common food within the Olympian Gods in Mythology and was one of the favorite superfoods of ancient Greeks. You can find a “pasteli” in weddings in various islands. The custom says that as in “pasteli” the bond between honey and sesame seeds is so strong that becomes one, that is exactly the wish for the newlyweds.
Oh, honey, honey, how you thrill us in our big-honey weddings!
Recipe for “Xerotigana”
For the dough:
500 gr flour
1 spoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
200-250 gr water
60 gr raki or tsipouro (optional)
For the syrup:
300 gr sugar
5 spoons honey
250g gr water
1 spoon cinnamon
Knead all the ingredients for the dough. After kneading, the dough is left to rise for 2 hours. Then open the dough and cut it into strips (8-10 cm wide). Fry the strips in very hot olive oil until they turn into golden brown. The syrup is made by boiling sugar, water and lemon juice for 10 minutes. Add the honey and wait until it dissolves. The cold fried strips should be mixed with the hot syrup. Sprinkle them with almonds and cinnamon, if you want.