By Couniniotis

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Vostizza Currants: The Sun’s Currency

The unique Black Vostizza Currant has been recognized since 1993 as a Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.) product. It is a product that has been cultivated in the region of Aigialeia, on the northern Peloponnese since ancient times. This particular variety dates back to the 13th century A.D. Given the fact that this precious vine fruit is dried naturally under the beneficial sun it becomes an excellent food source of natural energy.

The name Vostizza is derived from the medieval name of the city of Aigio, as is mentioned in various historic references. This certifies the fact that this product has been cultivated along the coastline, all the way to Corinth. The viniculture history of Greece is long. Viniculture products such as wine, wine juice, grape syrup and currants have been very important to the Greek diet. Dionysus, the god of the vine, has been worshiped passionately in the Peloponnese, maybe more than in the rest of Greece. This particular dried fruit is mentioned in the texts of Herodotos, Plato and Aristotle as “ασταφίδες” (astafides), “σταφυλίδες” (stafylides) but also with their present name “σταφίδες” (stafides translated into “raisins” and formally as “currants”).

The Corinthian raisins have been for many years the “steamboat” of the Greek agricultural production. The economy of the Peloponnese had flourished due to the raisin. Also during troublesome periods the sweet, precious raisin has sustained whole generations of people. The industrial buildings of the Agricultural Associations, with their impressive posture and their distinctive architecture are also emblematic to the region.

Nowadays the raisin is mainly an exporting product, which is highly appreciated in Europe and especially in England. The British traditional afternoon delight, tea, is accompanied by sweets which are made with Corinthian Currants as their main ingredient.

The modern nutritional trend while replacing the older values, finds in raisins/currants a lot of great qualities. Its content in vitamins, such as riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, ascorbic acid and the fat soluble vitamins make raisins a pure, but also enjoyable food supplement which is produced absolutely by all natural procedures. It also has a low content of sugars and no fats and therefore it is a strong ally in the battle for an everyday healthy lifestyle.

Raisins are also a main ingredient in many kinds of sweets. The currant buns, with the fluffy dough, are for sure one of our favourite childhood memories’ foods. Raisins also give a unique character to many cooking recipes, as they are used in stuffing for many holiday dishes, such as “stuffed turkey”, etc. Many kinds of sauces accompanying hunting delights are also enriched with raisins. One could even make healthy, low-calorie oats biscuits which are ideal for a light breakfast.

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