Lisbet e Folegandros

Modena, Matteo Serri | 9 July 2012

Images by Matteo Serri per Essen A Taste Magazine©

Folegrandros is one of the most beautiful Cyclade islands. If you arrive here at night, the kora will look like a nativity scene made of houses and streets of stone, but the place of the native inhabitants is Ano Meria, a village on a hill where bread, meat and spices are produced.

On the island you can eat goat and lamb, chickpeas (a mousse of yellow lentils) and a special type of green vegetables which are usually boiled and served with olive oil and lemon.
This island must have healing properties and only after ten days you will feel the difference between this place and any other Greek island.

Among its beauties, there is Pounta – a restaurant/bar that is always open where you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner, enjoying its romantic garden full of surprises.
Pounta is Lisbet Schou Giouri‘s restaurant, a beautiful Danish woman who, together with her husband Dimitri, runs with great wisdom this resting place of Folegandros: every detail is studied and Lisbet creates personally the beautiful ceramics (which are also for sale), the fruit compositions and the best watermelon cake ever.
If you have a taste for beautiful things and want to book a holiday, Lisbet rents some houses with wonderful views.

We are happy to share this address and introduce you Lisbet with a small interview.

Folegandros is a beautiful place to live, many people decided to come here to live and work. What about your story? Why this island and not another?
I had visited many Greek islands before arriving in Folegandros, but I fell so severe in love with this island that I didn’t go anywhere else for holidays the next 10 years – that is,
I did visit other places as well, but always somehow ended up in Folegandros. I stayed a little longer each time, but it was never enough – and finally i found my husband, an a reason
to stay for good…..
I don’t really know why Folegandros touched me so much – it is very small, very dry, very primitive (or it was, back then) with a very powerful feeling…. I felt at home, even though is as different from Denmark, my country, as almost possible.

Could you tell us a story about families in the island before the turist-era?
I came with the beginning of the tourist-era – I don’t think I am really qualified to tell stories about before…..I know people were very poor – the island is not really suited for
agriculture, so dry and stony, only the winters rainwater to use for watering. They plowed the land with ox or donkeys – maybe some of them still do, because it is impossible to get
a tractor to the fields – and in the folklore museum you can see harness made for one ox, and one human – if you owned only one ox, the wife had to take the other place.
If we go way back in history, the island’s total population have been erased by pirates – twice!
The last time (unfortunately I don’t exactly when that was) the government spread the message that whoever wanted to go to Folegandros to live could have houses and fields for
free. Thus the origin of nowadays population is a mixture of Greeks from all over the country.

Which kind of people came here to spend their holidays? Is it different now?
Locals that had moved to Athens would come back for the summer – they still do.
Adventurous back-packers with very few needs – they are less now.
Generally the island is visited by people that are willing to go a little bit out of the way for their holiday experience – to endure a little trouble getting here. Lately it has become more
‘fancy’ to come – with everything that it brings along…..

Yours is the most beautiful place in the isle and your menu is a bit different from others restaurant. Which is your taste exactly and how you match your own tradition with greek one.

Our restaurant is a Greek restaurant, and we serve Greek food. Most of the recipes origin from my mother in law, who was the cook in the restaurant for very many years.
I just made it a little lighter – a little less oil, a little less cooking time….We love all the very nice traditional vegetarian dishes, and we try to keep things simple – and beautiful.

Do you think something for the island and for food and choices for the greece crisis?
I don’t know what will happen with the island – it is too early to tell. We all just hold our breath and wish for the best…!

What do you do in winter time? Where do you stay?
I stay with my family i Chora, the main village on the island. I am an educated ceramist (from the School of Danish Design), so I spend the winter working in my studio – making
the plates, cups and bowls we use in the restaurant, and as many items as I can, to sell during the summer.

In the island there are some beautiful tips of food like: rose marmelade, lamb, kid, ceci and that beautiful green vegs (i can’t remember the name) is it all from the island or everything’s arrive from athens?
The rose-leave marmelade, the capers, the honey, goats cheese and goats meat, horta (the green stuff) are all produced on the island. But in small quantities. The rest is brought in
from Athens, or other islands (mostly Naxos and Santoirini) where they have more water, and bigger fields.

Be in the island means: DO breakfast at your place: you have something extraordinair like your chocolate cake and watermelon cake! Could you give us your recipe?

Watermelon-cake:

You need half a watermelon. Clean it carefully for seeds – it has to remain pieces, not being a mash! You cut it in smaller pieces and add 1 cup (appr. 2,5 dl.) olive oil, 1 cup sugar,
3 tabl.spoons of cinnamon, and slowly, slowly about 2 cups of flour – this is the tricky point, the doe has to be thick, but not TO thick – a little bit thinner than usual cake-doe…
You prepare a baking pan with oil and flower and pour the doe in there, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for an hour (180-200 degrees).
When baked, just out of the oven, you pour generously Greek honey over the surface. Leave it to cool (to get solid) and enjoy!

Chocolate-cake:

Melt 200 g of dark chocolate in 160 g olive oil. Whip 200 g of sugar with 4 eggs. When white, pour carefully the oil + chocolate mixture into it. Cut (in a mixer) 200 g almonds.
Mix the almonds with 120 g flour. Add half tablespoon of cinnamon and mix everything into the egg, sugar oil and chocolate mixture. Pour into a prepared circular baking pan, appr.
24 centimeters in diameter. Bake at 160-180 degrees for exactly half an hour – it is important that the cake doesn’t get too well done, it is best when it is a little wet in the center.
When cooled, cover with melted chocolate (I melt it in a casserole with a little bit of cream – it’s quick and easy, and makes it easier to cut when it is cold.)

You are very welcome to mention our houses. We have a web-site with pictures – www.pounta.gr.

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