Koum Kouat of Corfu
Golden orange translates to kam kwat in Chinese and that is the origin of the name of this strange tree, kumquat, which has been extensively cultivated on the island of Corfu since 1924. In fact, the British botanist Sidney Merlin is believed to have introduced it to the island, where it was declared a quality product of protected geographical indication following a ministerial resolution passed in 1994.
The kumquat is a tree that belongs to citrus trees and does not exceed 2.5 meters in height. Its fruits ripen in December and turn orange from green, as is the case with other citrus fruits as well. That means that the most suitable period for picking extends from January to February. The fruit is smaller than a mandarin, has pips and is eaten along with the peel. As with all citrus fruits, it abounds in vitamins A and C. Its taste, however, is rather tangy and bittersweet, which is why it is rarely eaten raw.
It is however ideal for liqueurs, jams and glyka tou koutaliou, in other words traditional Greek spoon sweets (namely fruit in syrup). This is the main reason why the largest part of the production is processed on the island of Corfu and a substantial number of products are exported to EU member states.
Kumquat is extensively cultivated on the island of Corfu and, in particular, in the northern part of the island, in the plain Nymphes located in the area of Platonas, where the region’s soil, mild climate and water favor its growth and fruitfulness. Cultivated areas make up a total of over 500,000 m2. Annual production amounts to approximately 140 tons.
The Koum Kouat of Corfu is a pleasant liqueur made from kumquat fruits, with an aroma and taste that resemble oranges and strawberries and is exclusively produced on the island of Corfu.