Greece, is a country for all seasons with constant sunshine year round. Sun dried fruits kissed under the sun … what a privilege to have year round sun.
With a long standing reputation Greece enjoys “sultana” a golden-colored dried grape and “currant” from Black Corinth seedless grape.
Sun-dried raisins Soultanina from Crete
These dried grapes (sultanas) are produced exclusively from Sultanina grapes. This variety replaced the local Cretan varieties of grapes in the early 20th century, when refugees from Asia Minor arrived and began cultivating Sultanina grapes using their traditional skills and knowledge.
Due to the island’s low level of rain and long hours of sunshine during the months of July and August, these grapes have an extremely high sugar concentration. The grapes are harvested starting mid-August throughout mid-September and are put to dry immediately after they are picked.
These sultanas have a distinctive golden-brown color, are plump with a flavor reminiscent to vanilla, a high sugar content at a minimum of 75%, and a maximum moisture content of 16 %. These raisins are very well known on the international market and are often used to prepare cakes and other desserts and eaten as a snack too.
Sun-dried raisins from Ilia
This variety of raisin is produced from black wine grapes in Ilia prefecture, where they have been produced since the beginning of the 14th century. These raisins owe their special characteristics to the excellent soil and weather conditions in the region.
This sweet grape variety can be harvested in August, earlier than other grapes. They are also rounder, more uniform in shape and have a deep black color. There are two methods of drying used in Ilia – one is to directly expose the grapes to the sun on special surfaces called alonia, and the other is to dry them in the shade on special frames, which takes longer but produces raisins with superior color.
In the region of Ilia, the raisins enjoy a high demand and are exported to the European Union, especially to Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Sun-dried raisins from Zakyntho
Internationally marketed under the name Zante currants and also known as Corinthian raisins or Raisins from Zakyntho. They are dried berries of the small, sweet, seedless grape cultivar called Black Corinth, grown and sun-dried naturally on the island of Zakynthos since the 16th century.
This exceptional quality raisins are the result of the special soil and climate conditions on the island where long hours of sunshine and high temperatures during the summer contribute to their high sugar content and to their characteristic sweet flavor.
The crop is harvested by hand when the grapes acquire the needed sweetness and become deep purple. They are immediately left to dry on the ground on paper or plastic grape racks. No chemicals are added to quicken the procedure. Once the drying is complete, the clusters are rubbed gently in order to separate and remove the stalks.
These black currants are of exceptional quality and unique taste making them highly demand for snacks and/or baking.
Sun-dried raisins from Vostitsa
This variety of raisin has been produced since the 13th century in the ancient city of Aigio in the northern Peloponnese, on the hills overlooking the Gulf of Corinth. The Corinthian raisin is made from small, sweet, seedless grapes of the black Vostizza variety that have been dried naturally in the open air.
These raisins are sorted manually and cleaned several times before final packaging, and they are sometimes glossed with vegetable oil to make them shinier. Corinthian raisins are very small and have an intense flavor, with an almost 75% sugar content.
They are blue-black in color, and their scent is strong and fruity. These raisins are a significant source of vitamin C and natural antioxidants. They can be eaten raw, but they are most commonly used in the preparation of sweet or savory dishes. This raisin is world famous, and is exported in great quantities.