I lived in Greece for just over four years. I learnt to cook there … and learnt to eat there! Food is celebrated by wild and wonderful get-togethers, dinners and parties. Bakeries, patisseries and sweet shops have some of the most unique and truly pleasurable indulgences which are, without a doubt, labours of love in preparation and process. My time in Greece certainly taught me the art of soul food and the value of using good, fresh, and wherever possible, organic ingredients. But amongst all of the rich food experiences I had during my time, there is one thing that stands out above the rest, one thing that has imprinted heavily upon my senses. It is the modest plant called Ironwort. Τσάι του βουνού (tsai tou vounou), is a tisane, a herbal tea brewed from the flowers and stems of the plant Sideritis (aka Ironwort). It grows wild upon the mountains of Greece and for hundreds of years been brewed by shepherds on the hills and cliffs of Greece’s ancient and glorious landscape. To me the scent embodies ‘nurture’. It is intoxicating. Traditionally thought to have magical powers, Sideritis has been used to treat all number of common ailments including cold, flu, sinus, fever and allergies. Today it is additionally known to function as both an anti-inflammatory and an anti-microbial. While current research is being carried out into the plant’s ability to aid in the prevention of cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. I am going to try growing it next season, I would certainly enjoy a year round supply!