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Melekouni: Traditional Rhodes sweet with honey, sesame, almonds, and cinnamon. Historically Greek, offers health benefits, and enjoyed on special occasions.

Greek ‘melekouni’ like superfood bar

Melekouni is a sweet from the island of Rhodes, outstanding for its wonderful taste and high nutritional value. It is traditionally offered at engagements, weddings, and baptisms. In recent years, this candy has been standardized and has also become familiar outside of Rhodes, where it is sold as a nutritious snack. Although it looks like pasteli, it differs significantly in flavor and texture.

The ingredients from which it is made are honey, sesame, almonds, cinnamon, and orange. The word “melekouni” is composed of the words meli (honey) and kouna (sesame seeds), referring to the confection’s two main ingredients.

Historically it derives from ancient Greece, where honey and sesame had a very important place in the diet. Even the name of the sweet has roots in ancient Greece. Studies have shown that melekouni has beneficial properties for health and contributes to longevity.

Initially, peeled almonds are well roasted. Next, the sesame, after being washed and dried, is roasted until it becomes soft. Then the sesame, almonds, and cinnamon are mixed until they become a blend. In the second phase, thyme honey (produced from the islands of Dodecanese) is boiled with a little orange or lemon juice and then added to the mixture. In the third phase, the mixture, when it is lukewarm, is spread over a wide surface and, with the use of a roller, is flattened. Finally, after cooling down, the sweet is cut into octagonal pieces.

Photo: The Apolloniatisses

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