Leonido’s aubergine, the star vegetable of Greek cuisine
Countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea they are fortunate to have a climate and a diversity of ecosystems such as to make the growth of a large variety of edible plants. Among these, the Leonidus aubergine deserves a note of particular attention. Indeed, it is an important ingredient for the greek cuisine.
Leonido’s aubergine belongs to the same family as the classic aubergine that we all know and that we can find at the greengrocer’s. However, this type of vegetable it grows only in the valley of LeonidosIn the Peloponnese. Eggplant is also called Tsakoniki melitzana and takes its name from the region Tsakoniawhere an ancient Greek dialect is still spoken.
Leonido’s aubergine also differs from the others in terms of shape, color and taste. There Tsakoniki melitzana And thinner than other dark purple eggplants and grows up to 25 centimeters long and 6 centimeters in diameter. Also, it has some unmistakable white stripes and the ends are more pointed, similar to a horn.
Beware of imitations
This vegetable also has national significance. Indeed, in 1996 the European Union assigned the certification of protected designation of origin (PDO) to the Leonido aubergine. Such recognition has positive consequences on the local economy. In fact, it has become one of the main products of Tsakonia.
But beware of imitations. Maria Lysikatoupresident of the Tsakonian Women’s Cooperative of Leonidos, signaled the presence on the market of other varieties of aubergines that try to imitate the original Greek one. It is possible to recognize the real one because of the pointed extremities, white streaks and for the sheen of the skin.
Use in the kitchen
Leonido’s aubergine comes widely used in Greek cuisine due to its flavor, which is sweeter than other eggplants. It also doesn’t need to be soaked for hours to remove the bitter aftertaste. Precisely for this reason, the Leonido aubergine is also used for the preparation of sweet recipes, such as melitzanaki.
However, preparing this dish is not as easy as it seems and requires time specific precautions, such as the fact that aubergines have to be harvested prematurely. It’s easier to eat it instead fried or how accompaniment for a stew or with grilled meat. There are also those who use it to prepare a sauce to spread on bread or for papoutsakithe traditional Greek eggplant dish.
Promote the area
Local farmers harvest Leonido’s eggplant in the summer and autumn months, with the exception of August. The reason for this break is related to the fact that the vegetable is affected by excessive heat. Finally, it is a source of pride because it allows you to promote the local area and the culinary traditions handed down from generation to generation.
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