Author and photographer: Annette Spaan
Dutch Travel Journalist Annette Spaan spent months at the Odyssey and wrote this blog about her experiences.
If you are wondering where Katerina gets such wonderful fresh ingredients, you need to look no further than her olive farm on the Peloponnese mainland. Here she and her husband grow their own vegetables, surrounded by sweet-smelling orange and lemon trees. Whatever they don’t grow themselves, they get from the farm just around the corner. Lucky for us, a visit to these wonderful places is part of some of the cooking workshops.
After our daily ritual of home-made breakfast and mountain tea, we take our mopeds the short distance to the ferries at the edge of Poros town. I step on board together with Katerina, Rik, and a handful of their hotel guests. During the five minute trip we have an amazing view on the capital of Poros. That alone is worth the trip!
When we arrive on the Peloponnese it’s only a short walk to the farm. We pass houses with orange groves, cypresses, cactuses and beautiful mountain scenery. Flowers grow wild, poppies color the fields red.
We open the gate and enter Katerina’s farm. The dirt road in front of us seems to have no end and winds all the way down to the sea. On either side the lemon and orange trees are full of fruit.
These are the lemons and oranges Katerina uses to make her homemade products like the teaspoon sweet and marmalades. The teaspoon sweet is a Greek tradition that is served to guests and family.
Katerina: “Every family makes their own version. It can be made of fruits, flowers, vegetables or nuts. The ingredients simmer for a long time in a sweet syrup.” Rik remembers the time that he was introduced to Katerina’s family and he had to try a teaspoon sweet in each family member’s house!
Beyond the fruit trees, beautiful, twisting olive trees take over the land. Rik starts to remove the branches that have been cut recently. Their olive trees produce some of the best olive oil I have ever tasted.
In November guests arrive to harvest the olives during Katerina’s olive picking week.
We all enjoy picking the lemons and oranges from the trees. Citrus is a natural mood enhancer, and smiles are abounding.
Lemons are one of the key ingredients in the majority of Katerina’s recipes, and the citrus fruits here look and smell delicious.
We worked hard….
But we are not finished yet! It’s time to pick some veggies. The vegetable garden is a joy to walk around in. As you can see, the Mediterranean sun has worked his magic.
The cornerstone of healthy, organic meals.
Ready for some sea views, we walk all the way down to the beach.
How amazing to have this view together with a little beach on your private land!
I visit the neighboring farm on another day together with Katerina. We pass palm trees and cactuses before we enter the terrace of the farmhouse. A nonagenarian couple welcome us with great enthusiasm and pour us some lemonade.
Their greenhouses hold long rows of vegetables. Katerina gathers the ones that she needs.
When the night falls Katerina and I return to her farm. We walk to the end of the estate where we each take a chair to watch the moon above Poros town melt into the water. The village lights twinkle. Katerina tells me about her love for Poros and memories of growing up on the island. A life that was so different from my Dutch upbringing.
We get into our bathing suits and jump into the water. The sea is warm and quiet. The orange moon gives everything a phosphorescent glow. These days were filled with moments I will never forget.