Pasteli, Sesame Bar

The Pasteli is a traditional Greek sweet made with sesame and honey.

Both ingredients are natural with nutritional value. Its roots are lost in antiquity confection. Honey and sesame were components of the ancient Greeks diet, which had developed various dishes to improve nutrition. The common name of pasteli in ancient times was “sisamis”.

pasteli bar

The pasteli (SISAMI) was a symbol of fertility and offered to weddings as a welcome to the guests, and to the bride after the ceremony, as she was crossing the threshold of her new house. The sisamis name prevailed until the middle of the Byzantine period.

The pasteli has a history of at least 2500 years and since then it has been established as nutritious food.

pasteli horTraditional preparation
The basic preparation of pasteli is: The honey is boiled in a special shallow pan with a large surface and is skimmed when it starts to boil. When the honey thickens, sesame is added under continuous stirring to prevent the mixture from sticking.

When finished cooking, the mixture is spread over a marble surface or a special canvas smeared with sweet wine or almond flavored oil. Once the mixture has cooled down open it to about 1/3 of an inch thick and cut into pieces. Of course the recipe varies by region (eg in Sifnos they do not skim the honey).

Because the pasteli was prepared with only two raw ingredients, the process is simple. The secret of success lies in the quality of honey and sesame, the mixing ratio of the two ingredients and the good bonding between them.
The pasteli is chewy if you add more honey and crispy if you add more sesame.

A common method to determine whether the components are bound together is to pour a little mixture on a plate. If the mixture is ready it will not stick on the plate.

The pasteli ingredients

Honey is produced by bees from nectar or the honeydew from various plants. Thus making it one of the most natural nutritional foods. Read more about honey

Greece ranks second in the worldwide consumption of honey, 2lb per capita consumption per year. First is Germany with 3lb annual consumption per capita. The total honey production in our country is around 20,000 tons, of which about 60% is sold as pure honey and the remaining 40% processed. A significant percentage of honey is supplied to large industries which produce other products that contain honey, such as pasteli, nougat, Halva with honey, and yogurt.


Sesame was one of the first oleaginous plants (sesame oil) cultivated by man. It comes from eastern Africa and cultivated in most tropical, subtropical and southern zones of the world and in Greece. Today unfortunately it is not cultivated in our country but instead it is imported.

Reference to Ancient Greece:
Many ancient texts show that the sesame was cultivated in ancient Greece. Ancient texts states that sesame was used for production of pasteli or pastries.

pasteli nuts

Research has proved that the pasteli has many beneficial properties. The same applies to sesame oil, tahini and chalva.
According to a study which was completed and published contacted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki sesame and its products, have anti-aging, anti-cancer, antihypertensive, and other benefits.

Here are also some of the other benefits
1. Reduce blood cholesterol levels.
2. Enhance the proper functioning of the immune system.
3. Prevent cataract.
4. Assist in the treatment of diabetes.
5. Protect against atherosclerosis and hypertension.
6. Prevent or slow chronic diseases.
7. Contribute to the proper functioning of the liver.
8. Have anti-aging and anti-hypertensive properties.

Source: study by ETAT SA
Magazine Food & Beverage
EPET II research and technology program

  • Latest
  • Popular
  • This may be a rude awakening for many to discover that Hummus is not Greek; it never was and will...

  • A good friend Chef Peter Minakis reminded me of this great dish that somehow was always available in our home....

  • Greece’s most effective and trustworthy leader in the promotion of Culture and premium brands throughout the globe! Greek Taste Beyond Borders®...

  • Harvest season is hundreds years of tradition in Greece, with all family members helping to produce the must, making the...

  • Winemakers on the Greek island of Crete are eager to introduce you to grapes like vidiano and kotsifali. Family winegrowers...