Life’s a Bowl of Cherries

By Marianthi Milona

You can buy them everywhere: the markets, grocer’s shops, even from a vendor’s car.

Often these “fruit mobiles” cruise by your house. The voice shouting over the megaphone sounds unnatural, but children recognise him and ignore the terrible cacophony because they’re excited and anticipating delicious, fresh fruit.

One of the wonderful cherry centres is without doubt the village of Taxiarhis, situated at an altitude of 630m, in the Holomondas mountains, in the heart of Halkidiki.

It is surrounded by dense deciduous forest which glows with wonderful browns and reds in the autumn. There is little traditional agriculture in this thinly populated region, and the majority of villagers make a living from cultivating and selling Christmas trees.

Cherries make for a refreshing
summer treat and a delicious
all-year dessert if preserved in syrup
But if you ask people on the Halkidiki coast at the end of June where their cherries have come from, they will declare: Taxiarhis.

The cherry growers of Taxiarhis are a proud lot, confident in the quality of their fruit, even if some pick their cherries only for their own use.

The season has always been the time for the women to make kerasi glyko, or press and bottle the fruit’s delicious juice.

Taxiarhis cherries and their byproducts have become a secret to be shared during the Halkidiki summer, and anyone who is offered a bowl can count themselves lucky indeed.

You can easily create a sweet cherry soup, taste the traditional cherry glyko or enjoy these Taxiarhis cherries year-round after preparing them as preserves.

Sweet cherry soup


500g cherries
1 generous cup/250g sugar
1 bottle dry white wine
Juice of two lemons
500ml heavy cream or whipping cream
2 tbsp cherry liqueur
Ground cinnamon


Pit the cherries and place in a saucepan with the sugar and white wine. Cook for five minutes over medium heat. Allow the cherries to cool a bit, puree in a blender and add the lemon juice. Leave to cool for a little while before mixing in the cream, then the cherry liqueur. Add sugar to taste. The cherry soup can either be served hot or placed in the refrigerator to chill. Serve on plates sprinkled with cinnamon.

(Posting Date 1 July 2009)

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