Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Meet the Neighbors: Mastihashop

August has arrived, and with it, quieter streets--making it the perfect time to explore the Lower East Side. Today, we'd like to introduce you to our new favorite local Greek establishment, the Mastihashop.

Photo courtesy New York Magazine

Located at 145 Orchard Street, Mastihashop gets is name from a little-known resin, Mastiha. Derived from the trunks of evergreen Mediterranean schinos trees, mastiha is only grown on the Greek island of Chios. Famous for its therapeutic properties, mastiha can be incorporated into all sorts of goods--pasta, extra virgin olive oil, face cream, shower gel, toothpaste, and soap.

According to Kitchen Caravan, "Mastiha has been used since ancient times for both its flavor as a spice, as well as for its therapeutic properties. It is an antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory, and has long been lauded for its beneficial use in skin care, oral hygiene, and for curing digestive disorders. [It has] a refreshingly alpine, and slightly camphoric aroma."

Mastiha--for the curious reader

After years of preparation, Mastihashop was opened in 2007 by sisters Artemis and Kalliopi Kohas, who were born to Greek immigrant parents in Allentown, PA. According to their web site, the sister aspire to create "a meeting place that will host products and flavors from many civilizations of the Eastern Meditteranean."

If you visit the shop, make sure to check out the tasting corner, where visitors can sample Turkish delight, gum, and sweet mastiha paste--another exciting (and unusual) flavor of the Lower East Side!

--Posted by Kathryn Barnard

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