Thursday, 28 March 2013

Fennel (Μάραθο)

As you drive to and from the airport of Hania, you will come across an amazing sight - a tall graceful with bright yellow flowers, surrounded by bushy fronds.

It is Ferula communis, also known as the giant fennel. Even though it looks like fennel weed, which Cretans use a lot of, it isn't actually a proper fennel species. It doesn't smell of fennel at all; it is completely scentless, a little like the fronds of the fennel bulb.

The aromatic edible fennel is the one on the bottom right hand corner.  
The large fennel-like bush is the giant fennel which hasn't bloomed yet.
If you care to look around in the same area where the giant fennel is growing, you will come across the real fennel weed, which also grows wild and is used in many Cretan dishes, notably the marathopita (fennel pie).


Fennel grows in bushes, and only yields a flower when it is close to the end of its season. Fennel grows most of the year round, by roadsides and rivers.

These fennel pies were part of the offerings served to the first tourists to land by plane in Hania for this season.

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