My love affair with Southern Europe started when I was about a year old. My parents, true adventurers, took me to spend a year on the incredible island of Ithaka in Greece. I think it was this early experience of arid landscape, cerulean skies and hot air scented with Rosemary, Sage and Lavender, which has seen me drawn to similar landscapes all my life. Whether the Greek islands, the most Southern tip of Spain where the Sahara winds blow or the Southern Croatian hills where I find myself today, it is this dry, hot climate which really allows me to exhale.
Taste and scent are an incredibly important part of how we experience places and I love recipes that bring back a place. On a recent trip to Croatia my gracious host Doris showed me how to make the most delicious Rose syrup.
Here is a fab recipe to bring back memories of sunshine and roses.
Doris’s recipe for Rose Syrup
What you need:
5 L water
100g of citric acid
4kg of castor sugar
250g Rose blossoms -Doris uses blossoms from the Rose centifolia
How to make the Syrup:
Put your water into a jar and add the sugar and the citric acid. Stir well and add the washed Rose blossoms. Cover and leave for about five days-preferably in the sunshine but if you don’t have Croatian sun at hand then on a window cill is fine too. Stir daily and after the five days use a sterile gauze to filter out any impurities. Do this a second time to make it even more clear and then decant into bottles and refrigerate. Using even a little of this tasty syrup in a bit of water is so refreshing and seriously delicious.
Thanks so much to Doris at Villa Carmen in Mlini, Croatia.
Villa Carmen in Mlini
Among the beautiful ornamental planting of Mlini there are many edible ones that the locals use to create recipes throughout the year. Figs are used to make cakes and preserves and everything from Kiwis to Lemons are used to make preserves, drinks and desserts. Doris, the owner of our beautiful Guesthouse showed me her grandmother’s recipe book, old with age and use and scented with lavender. The handwritten book (pictured here) holds recipes for many native fruits and delicacies. Even now the family uses the Ponderosa Lemons to make Arancini, Roses for Rose syrup, Juice, Liquor and Turkish Delight, Fresh Mint for Syrup and the breakfast table at our guesthouse often has three different homemade jams on offer.
If you want to stay in Mlini there are plenty of choices but none as welcoming and natural as Doris’ accommodation. It is at the heart of everything yet feels like you are in paradise alone. For more go to: Villa Carmen Rooms & Apartments on Booking.com or Airbnb.
or contact Carmen and Doris on www.vivado.hr0