URUMQI, CHINA (Xinhua) – Greek food company Palirria SA has purchased 3,700 tons of vine leaves this year from Turpan, a key hub on the ancient Silk Road in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Turpan, with its dry climate and abundant sunshine, has a long history of growing grapes and is one of the main grape production bases in China.
Its planting area totals 37,800 hectares with a yield of 1.14 million tons of grapes.
Customarily, local people in Turpan trim their grapevines every day and use the vine leaves to feed their sheep, rather than themselves, according to Alim Bahayidin, a local village cadre.
Palirria has bought a huge amount of vine leaves from Turpan, which have been sent to the company’s processing plants worldwide to make its knockout product, dolma.
With a centuries-old history, dolma is a popular delicacy common in Mediterranean countries like Greece, Turkey and other nearby regions.
“People don’t strip off the vine leaves when they eat dolmades,” said Georgios Intzes, general manager of Palirria’s subsidiary named Huangjinye (meaning “golden leaves”) in Xinjiang.