I had never heard of it until we took our jeep excursion around the island of Corfu in Greece during our Med Cruise on Holland America. I fell in love with Corfu and its unusual Kumquat liqueur.
With Jim at the wheel, four of us climbed into a tiny jeep with a manual drive and joined the line of twenty or so jeeps into the light Corfu traffic. A short time later, we left the busy seaside behind and were driving along twists and turns that took us further from the sea through the dry scrub and grasses toward hillsides covered with olive trees. We could see dark nets rolled in piles below the trees, waiting to be spread out when harvest time arrived.
There was so much to see and my attention was soon grabbed again by the vistas on display at each hairpin turn of the road where far below, the sea was an azure blue expanse floating out into the hazy horizon line.
Today, they are grown mostly in the northwest of Corfu, particularly near the town of Nymfes where the Mavromatis Distillary is located. Nymfes is just north of Sokraki. Unfortunately we had no time to visit the distillery that day but they do have an exhibition room at the distillery where visitors can see how the liqueurs are made.
Our jeep train guide also served as our walking guide through Sokraki, where we wandered by bright Venetian influenced villas, old stone crofts and quaint Greek churches topped with multiple bells. Grape vines draped on trellises inside courtyards and hibiscus trailed over stucco walls. We could have been dropped back in time into 1950’s Greece. Even the old women and Coptic Priest we passed look like film extras in costume, but they greeted us with friendly nods confirming they were just citizens of the tiny hillside town.