Pictures by George Sakellaridis
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Apollo's first love was the nymph Dafni. As he pursued her,
she called upon the gods to help her escape him and was immediately
transformed into a laurel tree. Still in love with her, Apollo
vowed to always wear a crown of laurel. As the originator
of the Pythian games, and as the god of poetry, he swore to crown
all victors, heroes and poets with wreaths woven of laurel leaves.
The leaf of the laurel tree is also known as the bay leaf
(dafni, in Greek). It is an essential ingredient in many cuisines,
especially those of the Mediterranean. Used either fresh or dried,
the leaves impart a subtle but distinctive flavor and fragrance to food.