Also known as Greek Mountain Tea or Shepherd’s Herb, Mt. Olympus Flowers (genus, Sideritis) is an ancient herb from the rocky slopes of Greece’s taller mountains. It’s ubiquitous in Greece and has only recently begun to emerge in North America. Traditionally, it has been especially popular as a cure-all in winter, but we find that it’s a delicious and refreshing brew any time of year.
The downy stems and leaves of Mt Olympus Flowers are softly enticing, like lamb’s ear or sage. Concentric sets of leaves and buds are topped with small yellow flowers that look a bit like fresh squash blossoms. Dry, Mt. Olympus Flowers has a distinctive sweet, sage-like, peppery, floral aroma. Brewed, the clear, lemon yellow infusion has a peppery and (as suits the colour) lemony scent. Hints of chamomile and bouquet garni permeate the aroma and flavour. The simultaneously invigorating and grounding taste is fresh and citrusy with a mellow, lemony finish.
Mt. Olympus Flowers can be reinfused multiple times and, although it’s far more delicate chilled than it is hot, it makes a crisp, light, refreshing iced tea. It’s a natural match for drinking with many Greek dishes, especially gyros, keftedes or honeyed pastries. If you’re feeling adventurous, try it with milder Indian or Thai curries or with sea salt ice cream.