When you know a place like the back of your hand their is pleasure in revisiting the familiar – slipping back into the known just like putting on a pair of comfy shoes. It’s easy is to swim at the usual beaches and eat at your favourite restaurants. Then, every once in a while, you deviate from the usual path and stumble onto somewhere new; happiness is there too.
On the island of Kos, sitting on the main route from town out to Antimacheia and beyond is the roadside taverna, ‘Perasma’. We must have driven past countless times, fixed on heading to the usual destinations; from now on we will have a job getting further than this spot.
In business since 1995, this superb family run ‘farm taverna’ is a perfect gem. Using mainly the produce grown on the farm behind the restaurant by her husband Mihalis, Contessa is a true culinary dynamo. Starting with breakfast for the farm hands, excellent traditional dishes for the taverna all day, and trays of her homemade baclava for weddings, this lady is certainly the countess of this kitchen. Feeling she is not quite busy enough, Contessa also runs cookery classes in the restauarnt. Their son, Stelios is in charge of marketing the farm produce further afield – their olives and olive oil have been beautifully packaged for sale at the taverna and also for export, under the label Lesperides.
We had pitched up in late afternoon, uncertain that lunch was still being served but Contessa rattled off the menu. How could we choose from such a list ? You would have thought that rabbit stifado, stuffed vine leaves and courgette flowers would have been enough for lunch but the temptation of a plate of freshly cooked keftedakia was too much. We hesitated but when Contessa asked if we preferred them with or without fresh mint, the deal was done. Obviously we asked for them with mint.
The rabbit, cooked in a rich tomato sauce with sweet onions, was succulent and perfectly flavoursome. The vine leaves had never seen a bottling plant, instead they had come straight from the vine and were fragrant and tender. The courgette flowers picked and cooked that morning were divine. We had a chat about whether dolmadakia were better with or without meat in the stuffing, Contessa prefers them with just rice and herbs; she is a talented, instinctive cook and pulls this off effortlessly. All this, accompanied by a plate of freshly fried hand-cut chips – who could want for more ? Certainly not us.
Even so, Contessa kindly treated us to a dish of ‘domataki’ spoon sweet, this is a truly local delicacy; I have yet to find anywhere other than Kos where plum tomatoes are preserved in syrup. The tomato flesh takes on a slightly crisp texture, the syrup has a hint of caramel. It goes without saying that Contessa makes this herself.
The Drosos family have farmed this land for three generations, and they still endeavour to use traditional farming methods to cultivate high quality produce. We are given a tour of the orchard and farm – rows of citrus trees with ripening mandarins, clementines, blood oranges and more.The mandarins, despite needing a few more weeks on the tree, were tasty beyond belief. The olive grove runs for almost as far as the eye can see. To the side we come across the kitchen garden, neat rows of leeks, lettuces, cabbages in fact all the vegetables you could need for Greek home cooking, Perasma’s speciality.
Perasma describes itself as the only farm taverna on Kos – it is their own food entirely, from field to plate. In modern business speak it would probably be described as their USP but the dedication shown by the Drosos family to this goal is much, much more than a marketing ploy – it is simply the right and the only way to do things.
Perasma Farm Taverna, Kos, is situated 15 km on the main road from Kos, at Marmari
Tel.: 0030 22420 41900
Lesperides olive oil, olives and other products http://lesperides.gr
Contact: Stelios Drosos Tel.: 0030 694 84 24 248
Email : email@example.com