Kumquat, the traditional product of Corfu: Kumquat fruit found its way from China into Europe sometime in the late 18th century. It has been mostly cultivated in Corfu since 1924 in the valley of Nymfes, near Platonas village, to the north part of Corfu. The fertile soil, abundant water, and mild climate are factors that have favored its growth. It is also cultivated in other parts of Corfu, counting about 6,000 trees of cumquat on the whole island.
Kumquat is part of the citrus family and the fruit looks like a small orange. The leaves are dark green, the blossom is white and it grows either in bunches or separately. The tree is about 2-3 meters high and the fruit is about 2 centimeters in diameter and round. Its thick and fleshy peel is yellow-orange in color and the inside is sweet. Around December the fruit ripens, changing color from green to orange. The harvesting season lasts from January to May.
Apart from eating it in its natural form or using it in cooking, it can be used in making spoon sweets, jams, syrups, and liqueurs. In fact, the most famous product of Corfu is kumquat liqueur. This liqueur can be made by macerating kumquats in vodka, gin, brandy or other clear spirits. Kumquat is rich in Vitamin C and 13 other vitamins. The fruit also has medicinal properties, as it relieves hypertension.
You can find cum quat liqueurs and spoon sweets in every single gift shop of Corfu. They constitute a nice souvenir to take home. Remember that this island is the only area in Greece where this special fruit is cultivated, so you will hardly find this particular liqueur somewhere else.