A carat weighs 0,2 grams. How did they choose this word and this exact weight to measure diamonds and the purity of gold?
It’s simple.. there is a seed of a tree that gave its name to this word. We are talking about the carob seed from the carob tree which in ancient Greek is called Ksilo-Keratia. So the name of the measurement, the carat, was taken from the ancient Greek Keratia part of the tree’s name.
Every carob seed weighs about 0,2 grams and so the carat as a measurement was taken from this.
The Carob is a very important tree to Greeks. Apart from its fruit used for animal feed-it fed generation after generation of Greeks and Cypriots. In Crete and in Cyprus you had to obtain a special permit to cut it down as it was afforded special protection and considered to be of great value.
We make flour from the carob, we also make a type of sugar and a type of honey. With the flour you can make almost everything.
There is a restaurant in Thessaloniki called The Haroupi (The Carob)
It’s a Cretan restaurant.
The chef there is Manolis Papoutsakis, a Cretan. He came to Thessaloniki for post graduate studies at Platona University..and stayed..
He cooked to get by while studying and then came across the philosophy of food which enchanted him and he decided to cook according to his own personal philosophy.
I managed to meet him and we had a few words. Before we ate..or maybe while we ate..
As I have been involved for years with cookery, I have realised that the quality of a chef’s character comes out in the food he brings to the table.
And the love that Manolis has for his beloved Cretan cuisine came out in everything we ate.
How far is Crete from Thessaloniki? One carat’s length at The Carob…..
I won’t talk about every dish we had..there’s no point.
I will tell you about the ingredients. About the cheese he has at the restaurant and that he knows the producer personally.
He knows where the vegetables come from. He knows that the tomatoes are sourced from the island of Syros, because he found wonderful tasty tomatoes there even in winter. And all that stuff you can try. And the tiny, tiny olives you can try, straight from Crete… And the olive oil he brings from his parents. Virgin olive oil which he even uses to fry with. And the rusks are also from Crete. And the wonderful wine from Crete you can try if you like…we didn’t try that. We drank Raki which we started with and we didn’t want to mix the drinks. And just as well as we tried almost the entire menu and we were enchanted…
And we want to go again… because we want to go to Crete again via his food in Thessaloniki…..