The recipe for Chrysocolla is based on a vague comment of Athenaeus (The Deipnosophists 3:75), a Greek writer from the city of Naucratis in Egypt, in the 2nd -3rd centuries CE. He quotes this dessert from Alcman, an Ancient Greek poet from Sparta, who lived in the 7th cenutry BCE, almost a 1000 years earlier.
Athenaeus (The Deipnosophists 3:75 (111a))
μακωνίδων δ᾽ ἄρτων μνημονεύει Ἀλκμὰν ἐν τῷ ε᾽ οὕτως
κλῖναι μὲν ἑπτὰ καὶ τόσαι τράπεσδαι
μακωνίδων ἄρτων ἐπιστέφοισαι
λίνω τε σασάμω τε κἠν πελίχναις
ἐστὶ βρωμάτιον διὰ μέλιτος καὶ λίνου.
Bread sprinkled with poppy-seed is mentioned by Alcman in Book V as follows:
“Couches seven, and as many tables laden with
poppy-bread, and bread with flax and sesame-seed;
and in cups … golden sweets (Chrysocolla)!”
This is a confection made of honey and flaxseed.
Greek text and translation is by Charles Burton Gulick, from Loeb Classical Library, Vol 1, 1927.
The reason this confection is called Chrysocolla is because it was a golden color, just like gold-solder, called in Greek Chrysocolla, which was used by goldsmiths to solder gold.
Cathy Kaufman in Cooking in Ancient Civilizations (p. 116), asserts that this recipe, besides honey and flaxseed, must have used nuts in order to help bind the mixture, which was “a frequent addition to the second tables.” Second tables is the Greek term deuterai trapezai, which is another name for dessert. I have chosen to use hazelnuts for my version of it and I have to report that the taste is superb and this dessert is very addictive.
This dessert is a great option to serve during the Passover Seder for the reenactment of the original Afikoman, which was a Greek dessert party following the main meal.