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Creative Retreat At Mèlisses

Creative Retreat At Mèlisses

 I am so excited to be returning to Mèlisses next month for a creative retreat with some lovely women. A few years ago (pre-pandemic), I had the privilege of travelling to this stunning venue on the Island of Andros, in the Cyclades archipelago. I had been invited by Allegra Pomilio to host a retreat along with Emiko Davis, Marco Lami, and Letitia Clark.
 Mèlisses, a secluded B&B, is nestled amongst the landscape with panoramic views of the sea & distant islands. The property is surrounded by fruit trees & herbs with stone steps that lead to crystal clear waters. The kitchen, supplied daily with fresh produce from the vegetable garden, looks out onto a pool that blends into the horizon. This place is a piece of paradise.
During our time there, Allegra, our gracious host, took us to a peaceful seaside tavern where we ate the most perfect lunch of traditional Greek food. We visited Chora, the picturesque capital of Andros, filled with quant stores, restaurants & outdoor cafe's.  We travelled the windy rugged roads to land upon a secret beach & had a wonderful picnic lunch at a rustic fisherman's cottage, inaccessible by car & frozen in time.
Together with Allegra, Letitia kept us nourished throughout our time there with an array of delicious dishes, made with produce straight from the garden. The vegetable patch was abundant in seasonal ingredients like courgettes & their flowers, onions, herbs, apricots & figs. 
We had cooking lessons from the loveliest Emiko Davis, who showed us how to make ravioli filled with mint, feta & ricotta & a decadent fudgy, flourless chocolate cake that did not disappoint. Marco, a sommelier, poured beautiful wines & made a dessert pizza, filled with succulent blackberries & homemade mascarpone, that I still think about!
I introduced guests to the process of natural dyeing, we gathered fig & olive leaves, and herbs like rosemary, & thyme. We explored the process, extracted colour & dyed linens, filling our dye journals with swatches of vibrant plant colours.  As a natural dyer, it was lovely to discover the sources of plant colour from the island & see these reflected in the dye pot. 
My memories of Andros & Mèlisses are some of my fondest & I am delighted to be returning next month for another retreat with artist Blakely Little, chef & writer Letitia Clark & multi-talented host Allegra Pomilio.
I can't imagine a more idyllic setting to carve out some time to nourish your creativity & be inspired by the breathtaking scenery of this beautiful island. Blakely will be guiding guests through all the elements in creating art, from the creative process & tools to composition and colour palettes (& everything in between).
I will sharing the process of natural dyeing from start to finish, we will source plants and ingredients from Mèlisses & the surrounding landscape.
We will extract & create dye baths and natural inks. Then experiment & apply our plant dyes to Irish linen, silk, cotton, wool, locally sourced Irish alpaca & handmade papers. Together we will create a beautiful palette of natural tones to reflect the seasonal colours of this magical Greek island.
With Allegra hosting & Letitia in the kitchen, this is sure to be a most memorable culinary treat, filled with delicious foods, island adventures and crystal clear swims in one of the most beautiful venues in Europe.
This workshop runs from the 17th-22nd of May & had previously sold out. However, 2 spots have opened up for anyone that missed out. To learn more about this retreat or reserve your space visit Mèlisses, we'd love for you to join us.   May 17-22nd

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