What is white like snow and sweet as candy; aromatic, with hints of mastic and chewy like toffee and heaped on a large tablespoon and submerged into a tall glass of cold water? It is the quintessential gesture of hospitality in Greece; the Greek vanilla submarine.
This famous spoon sweet is actually made from mastic resin which is cultivated only on the Aegean Island of Chios. This deliciously thick sweet is made by beating mastic resin with sugar until the desired consistency is achieved. It is then placed on a spoon and dipped in to tall water. It becomes harder when placed in the cold water and so licked off the spoon like a lollipop. Gradually, as the water warms the mixture softens and can be eaten like ice cream.
The Greeks of the diaspora introduced this treat to other countries as far away as Japan and it is said to be the official treat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
A vanilla submarine can be found in many cafés and restaurants around Greece and it is one of the Greek delicacies that are featured on the Athens Food Tour. It is also readily commercially produced and can be found in many food shops.