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30 March 2016

Traditional lemonade at the Kyparissia Old Watermill

When you find yourself in a beautiful and friendly environment and you are relaxed and attended everything seems and tastes so much better.
This is why I turned to Nasos at the Old Watermill in Kyparissia in my quest for a great lemonade experience and consequently a lemonade recipe. He is a person with knowledge, ardor and care and anything he prepares is delightful. The idea of visiting the mill once again was already quite invigorating. Everytime I pass by this place I get inspired: be it by the overall verdant and lush area, the aromatic garden, the “time travel” experience and the stories and artifacts which accompany it, the delicious products of cultivated and wild local growth prepared by Nasos and most of all by the warmth and care with which all things; still or living are attended in this welcoming and nurturing spot.

Only a few years ago my dear friend Tzima, who I barely knew then, was showing me the area with its 10 ruined yet very picturesque watermills. With sparkles in her eyes she was telling me of her dream of renovating this very one and make it “alive” again…and here I stand in the middle of Tzima’s and her husband Nikos’s dream … the restored “joyful” watermill, which today, after many decades of abandonment, has recuptured its first original purpose of grinding wheat for flour and its secondary functions added on from 1930 which were: serving as traditional coffee house and pantopolion (a small shop). Today the Watermill has other purposes too, those which would be quite unimaginable at the time of its construction in 1850 such as hosting school visits, poetry readings, film screenings, concerts…and being photographed for a blog for the sake of a lemonade recipe! The reality often out-stages our imagination or can be much more poetic that expected if we only have our senses to notice it.
Nasos Smerdis, who along with his wife Anna are Tzima’s closest collaborators at the watermill and the creators of many elaborate original and traditional produce served and sold here, have welcomed me with a shot of “tsipouro” and then we began the preparations.
We started out by visiting the garden where we picked fresh lemons and mint leaves and then we returned back to the traditional style kitchen at the coffee shop to prepare the lemonade.

Traditional Greek lemonade as served at the Old Watermill

500gr sugar and 200ml water ( bottled or spring) for syrup

500ml lemon juice

mint leaves

The most important thing in the preparation of lemonade is the right order of mixing the syrup with the lemon juice.The rule is that as soon as the lemon juice is squeezed it has to be mixed with the syrup which means that we always prepare the syrup first.

Mix water and sugar. Bring it to boiling and boil for 1 minute. Cool the syrup off.

Squeeze the lemons. Strain the juice through a cheese cloth. Mix the juice with the syrup immediately.

Storing: if you want to store the lemonade for later, fill a glass bottle with the syrup/juice mix to the very brim so no air space is left, close tightly and store in a refrigerator up to 1 year!

Serving: add spring or bottled water to a syrup/juice mix with 1:2 ratio

Pour it to a glass and add a lemon slice, mint leaf and ice cubes
If you want to be even more traditional serve the lemonade with something sweet like a loukoumi, a dried fig or pasteli (sesami bar)

There are many chaming spots at the watermill where you can enjoy your food and drink: the coffee shop, the patios (roofed and an open air) , the terrace, some cosy corners here and there but today I wanted to go back to the aromatic garden and sit under the lemon tree which fruit I was about to enjoy.

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