09 July 2020
Euromed 2020 — Traditional Mediterranean Gastronomy: Kolokasi
Issued on: 2020-07-09
Size: 30 x 43 mm
Perforation: 13¼ x 13¾
Printing: Offset lithography
Print run: 90,000
For the seventh consecutive year, Member States of the Postal Union for the Mediterranean “Euromed Postal” issue a stamp with a common theme. This year’s theme is “Traditional Gastronomy”.
The stamp of Cyprus illustrates kolokasi, a purely traditional Cypriot food cooked in various ways.
With its characteristic conical shape and special taste, kolokasi is identified with the Cypriot Gastronomy and the whole culture of the island.
It has a high nutritional value and significantly shields the immune system. Kolokasi is rich in vitamins A and C, proteins, carbohydrates and contains fibres as well as amino acids.
Colocasia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to southeastern Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Some species are widely cultivated and naturalized in other tropical and subtropical regions.
The names elephant-ear and cocoyam are also used for some other large-leaved genera in the Araceae, notably Xanthosoma and Caladium. The generic name is derived from the ancient Greek word kolokasion, which in Greek, botanist Dioscorides (1st century AD) may have inferred the edible roots of both Colocasia esculenta and Nelumbo nucifera.
The species Colocasia esculenta is invasive in wetlands along the American Gulf coast, where it threatens to displace native wetland plants.
They are herbaceous perennial plants with a large corm on or just below the ground surface. The leaves are large to very large, 20–150 cm (7.9–59.1 in) long, with a sagittate shape. The elephant’s-ear plant gets its name from the leaves, which are shaped like a large ear or shield. The plant reproduces mostly by means of rhizomes (tubers, corms), but it also produces “clusters of two to five fragrant inflorescences in the leaf axils”. Like other members of the family, the plant contains an irritant which causes intense discomfort to the lips, mouth and throat. This acridity is caused in part by microscopic needle-like raphides of calcium oxalate monohydrate. It must be processed by cooking, soaking or fermenting – sometimes along with an acid (lime or tamarind) – before being eaten.
The edible types are grown in the South Pacific and eaten like potatoes and known as taro, eddoe, and dasheen. The leaves are often boiled with coconut milk to make a soup.
Poi, a Hawaiian dish, is made by boiling the starchy underground stem of the plant then mashing it into a paste.
In Cyprus, Colocasia has been in use since the time of the Roman Empire. Today it is known as kolokasi (Kολοκάσι). It is usually cooked with celery and pork or chicken, in a tomato sauce in casserole. “Baby” kolokasi is called “poulles”: after being fried dry, red wine and coriander seed are added, and then it is served with freshly squeezed lemon. Lately, some restaurants have begun serving thin slices of kolokasi deep fried, calling them “kolokasi chips”.