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3 kinds of pasteli

Also spelled pastelli. Made with honey and sesame seeds, this is one of the healthiest Greek treats, available in every shop and kiosk. You can get it plain, or with peanuts, almonds or pistachios.

Pasteli is arguably the world's first energy bar: it was mentioned by Homer (who called it itiron) in the Iliad as food for warriors 'to give them strength and endurance'. Ancient athletes swore by it; Athenaeus of Naucratis mentioned it in the 3rd-century AD Deipnosophistae. Hesychius of Alexandria, author of 5th century AD dictionary, calls it plakous (a sesame seed pie), although by Byzantine times it was commonly called sesamis or sesamus.

There are many recipes for making it at home, often with the addition of a bit of sugar so it's not so gooey.

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Mushushu, Creative Commons License