Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

mezze (sometimes spelled meze) an interesting word which came originally from the Persian maza, meaning ‘taste, relish’. One of the few authors who has shown awareness of this Persian origin is Ayla Algar (1991):

I have traced the possible origin of meze to ancient Persia, where wine was the center of an emotional and esthetic experience that also included other forms of enjoyment, notably food and music. The original meze of Persia appear to have been tart fruits, such as pomegranates, quinces, and citrons, designed to alleviate the bitter taste left by unripe wine. Later nuts and small pieces of roasted meat were added to the spread of the wine drinker.