“They are the ultimate culinary delight through the greatness of simplicity.” This could be a way for spoon sweets to be described. They are nothing more than pure products of nature, such as fruits and nuts, which through a simple boiling process and some sugar syrup are transformed into a synthesis of aromas, colours and shapes.
They traditionally conducted the ideal treat which accompanied the cordial welcome of a visitor, as well as the sweet delicacy for young and old in a period when, for the region of Trikala and especially the mountainous areas, the mass production of sweets and the existence of candy shops in their modern sense were only known by the narrations of the big-city visitors.
Throughout the whole year, the especial geomorphologic position of the area has been providing the residents with the opportunity of enjoying an everlasting variety of fruit, vegetable and nuts. This very feast of colours, scents and flavours compose the gastronomic puzzle of the region.
The case of spoon sweets is exemplar of the Greek folk expression “each has its time”, since the harvest of every raw material occurs at a specific period, while the endless variety does not allow the production to stop all year round.
Spring greets the housewives in their gardens, gathering rose petals, as the confection of spoon sweet rose becomes excellent with April roses. A shortly after, cherries and sour cherries flourish in abundance granting, when it is time, their place to walnuts, figs and most of all strawberries. Midsummer and whole autumn find fruit and nuts in their most mature condition; this is the perfect time for the growth of watermelons, pears, berries, small tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, grapes and many others.
The winter’s coming would theoretically mean the death of sweet production, nevertheless this does not apply to spoon sweets, since it is the time for chestnut, quince, apple, orange, bergamot to take over, until they once again give their place to the spring fruits.
The guarantee for a successful outcome, reward for every devotee housewife, lies in the huge variety of raw materials in combination with the housewives’ inexhaustible fantasy and zest. Fruit and nuts are indeed collected one by one, and then they are washed and prepared to boil in the pan only with their juices or the addition of sugar.
The aromatic herbs and nuts are added for an exquisite outcome, before the syrup takes turn. The whole process comes to an end with the thickening of syrup, which constitutes the critical factor to the treat’s right preservation. Only when the syrup thickens correctly, the spoon sweet gets to be long preserved.
Just a small mouthful of spoon sweet is served next to a teaspoon, carefully on its typical plate, accompanied by a glass of cold water. Traditionally, the hostess solicitously awaits for the guests’ compliments on her handiwork; “Yummy, well done.”