For most of its visitors, a journey to Poros is not complete without a boat trip across the narrow channel that separates the charming island of Saronikos Gulf from the shore of Troizinia and Galatas. Within just five minutes and while you enjoy the picturesque view of the island and take some photos, the small, traditional boats will take you to the opposite side, in Peloponnese. There, one of the most interesting natural sights is the beautiful Lemon Forest, known since the 18th century for its production of aromatic lemons and their trade even outside Greece. A piece of land so charming that inspired and gave its name to a famous novel – “Lemonodasos” by Greek novelist Costas Politis, a love story between two young people set in Athens and Poros in the 1920s.
Although the original area has been shrunk and lost much of its charm -the three windmills that used to function are now in ruins and the natural springs are being used to water the pieces of land and agricultural crops that belong to individual owners -, its produce of top quality lemons still remains the basic raw material for excellent confectionery creations.
The history and magic of the Lemon Forest has been the inspiration for a talented couple of pastry creators, Dimitris and Maria Vlachou, the second generation that runs a well known pastry shop in Galatas dating since 1976, who created Lemonodasos ( the Greek word for lemon forest ) brand.
Using local lemon supplies coming from the nearby forest and based on traditional, family recipes, they create a range of high quality, pure products, such as lemonades and juices, marmalades and spoon sweets – Greek fruit compotes that are a traditional, light and healthy sweet treat.
Preservatives and artificial colours or flavours are strictly excluded, while on the other hand, freshly squeezed lemon juice is a basic ingredient for every product. Hand picked, ripe lemons become aromatic lemon marmalade and delicious spoon sweet, or complement strawberries, mandarins and oranges in flavourful jams. They also give an extra kick to sour cherries and quinces, also sourced by local producers, in spoon sweets so delicious and pure, that to us Greeks, revive memories of a visit to our grandmother’s house. All of their products are presented in glass jars and bottles that combine a traditional with a modern and a bit humorous touch.
Having the pleasure of meeting the joyful couple, I could observe their love, devotion and respect for tradition and the products of their land. That is the main and most important ingredient in everything they create. It’s also obvious that the creative ideas of Vlachos family don’t stop evolving and therefore the range of their lemon and other fruit based products has been enriching since they started, in 2015.
You should really try the matching combination of lemon and ginger in a sugar-free version, sweetened naturally by stevia plant, the refreshing lemon juice with cucumber, or the fragrant mastic lemonade, the classic sour cherry juice, the extra healthy pomegranate juice and the original strawberry juice with mint, all of them concentrated, hand made and always with freshly squeezed lemon juice for extra fragrance and an original aftertaste. They make the perfect assortment for a bowl of Greek yogurt topped with some spoon sweet or a breakfast with one of their marmalades.
And since for Vlachos Pastry Shop, tradition is an integral part of their philosophy, old recipes are also being used in making delicious marzipan bites called Amygdalota, with pure honey from bees of the Lemon Forest, lemon essential oil and a juicy center of lemon spoon sweet. You simply won’t believe their amazing, fragrant taste!