Category: Food



Introduction and description

Currant cake with coffee and flaked almond icing

Currants are a type of dried fruit and their description is provided under this more generic heading - Dried Fruit.

A currant is actually a raisin – a raisin being a dried grape!  Zante currants are also called Corinth raisins, or Corinthian raisins. 

They are the dried small, sweet, seedless grape cultivar 'Black Corinth' (Vitis vinifera). The name comes from the Anglo-French phrase "raisins de Corinthe" (grapes of Corinth) and the Ionian island of Zakynthos (Zante), which was once the major producer and exporter.

The currant is one of the oldest known raisins. The first written record was in 75 AD by Pliny the Elder, who described a tiny, juicy, thick-skinned grape with small bunches. The next mention is a millennium later, when the raisins became a subject of trade between Venetian merchants and Greek producers from Ionian coasts.

 In the 14th century, they were sold in the English market under the label Reysyns de Corauntz, and the name raisins of Corinth was recorded in the 15th century, after the Greek harbour which was the primary source of export. Gradually, the name got corrupted into currant. However, by the 17th century, trade shifted towards the Ionian islands, particularly Zakynthos (Zante), at which time it was named Zante currant.

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