We are very happy to announce Béatrice Peltre, the internationally acclaimed food writer, stylist and photographer, who will be at the helm of our two 5-day retreats in late September 2018, during which we will be sailing to one of our favorite Cycladic islands, Serifos.
Stunning photographs, impeccable styling and beautiful, airy, floral aesthetics reflecting natural simplicity and refreshing innocence are signature elements of Béatrice’s work. This unique combination of simplicity and style that shines through her photographs is breathtaking and in Saffron Gatherers we believe that marrying Béa’s visual aesthetics with the sheer beauty of Serifos, results in a perfect match for Simple Miracles to happen!
ABOUT THIS RETREAT
Spend 5 days in the Cyclades, the most famous group of islands in the Aegean Sea, comprising some of the most beautiful islands in the world. Join us at Coco-Mat Eco Residences, located literally by the sea, surrounded by the arid landscape of the island with the whitewashed chapels, the dazzling light and the hypnotic sound of waves gently lapping the shore. Walk along vague paths through wild lavender and caper bushes, ride a bike along the beach or just take a swim in the bright blue waters.
Find yourself in the astonishing scenery of the capital Chora with its sugar cube houses clinging to the upper slopes of a mountain crowned with three churches; walk around the alleys among chalk-white houses with colorful windowsills and doorways and old-fashioned white windmills; sit in the small town square hidden in the center of Chora, a theatrical space paved with marble which is surrounded by cafés, the town hall and an 18th-century church.
Take a cooking class by a talented Greek chef; learn how to make traditional “filo pastry” for a Greek pie (called “pita” in Greek) from a local cook and “play with clay” at a local ceramic studio in a thematic workshop. Taste local specialties and seafood in beachside taverns; enjoy the renowned Greek olive oil, wine, cheese and yogurt, local vegetables and fruits.
Béa will teach you the fundamentals of food styling and photography in her passionate and sweet way, through appetizing hands-on food assignments, using different surfaces in the wonderful indoors and outdoors of the hotel and a variety of props. She will also cover the business side of photography, blogging, social media and post-processing.
THIS RETREAT INCLUDES
EXCLUDED: Airfare to Athens, Greece; ferry tickets from the port of Piraeus to the island of Serifos and from Serifos to Piraeus; travel insurance (highly recommended as there will be no refunds for travel changes); extras. This visual & culinary adventure is limited to 10 guests
*Rooms are based on single occupancy (every room has a double bed).
There will be no refunds for this retreat due to the logistics involved and upfront costs of these events. See FAQ for details. Please make sure you can make it before completing your registration. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Béatrice Peltre will be your guide and food styling-photography instructor
This retreat will have a primary focus on food styling & photography under the guidance of Béatrice Peltre the celebrated food writer, stylist and photographer behind the award-winning food blog La Tartine Gourmande and two best-selling books : La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life (2012 Roost Books) to be published in French by Parfum d’encre -coming out in May 2018 – and My French Family Table (2016 Roost Books).
Béatrice was born and raised in a small rural village in northeastern France, in a family in which food and its traditions played an essential role. This background has given her a deep respect for beautiful organic homemade food. Her style is largely inspired by her motherland, France, and her adventures abroad, from Denmark to New Zealand. Her work has appeared in such places as the Martha Stewart Show, Saveur, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fine Cooking, Bon Appétit, Clean Eating, Mindful, Oprah Magazine, Whole Living, the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Globe, as well as in other international and online publications and books. She lives in Boston with her husband, Philip, her daughter, Lulu, and her son, Rémy. For Béa “to cook is to delight in the best of what life has to offer – the people and places we love”. Her work introduces us to a world where flavors are collected as souvenirs and shared as heirlooms; the dishes she creates are expressions of her joie de vivre.
NATURE IS LUXURY
In Vagià bay you will find a lush sandy shore, crystal clear waters and a glorious sunset. The colorful pebbles at the bottom of the sea and the fresh water streaming from different parts of the beach give Vagià a unique character which has given it a place in the list of Natura 2000 protected sites. A row of humble miners’ cottages, built on the hillside above Vagià bay, has been turned into a chic 13-room hotel which opened its doors in 2013. The cottages were built back in 1910 and they have been renovated in such a way that both the local traditional architecture and contemporary eco-friendly practices are respected.
Coco-Mat is a hip Greek brand of luxury mattresses, furniture and homewares that has branched out into hospitality and now has four hotels. Coco-Mat Eco Residences hotel has an idyllic setting right by this beach. It’s the perfect place to stay if you long for truly carefree beach holidays having nothing to worry about; a lovely accommodation in an inviting modern island style, overlooking the sea, offering great comfort: heavenly beds (from the Coco-Mat brand, of course), nice bathrooms, modern kitchenettes and sea-facing terraces. All rooms are two-level and from the windows you see nothing but the sea. The steps lead down to Vagià beach, where you can soak up the sun on Coco-Mat sunbeds and plunge into the sea to cool off. What else could you wish for during your vacation in Greece?
Every morning the breakfast buffet offers all the necessary treats for you to start your day feeling full of energy while enjoying the view of the sea, sparkling in the sunlight. Breakfast is prepared by Pastry Chef Maria Leonova, who is one of a kind. At lunch and dinner the charismatic chef, Haris Nikolouzos, will take you on a unique gastronomic journey through creative Greek cuisine with fresh seasonal products. On the sandy shore of Vagia the white sun loungers are shaded for your comfort during the day. Just a few steps ahead you will find crystal clear waters and during the glorious sunset we will enjoy gourmet dinners served under the stars, accompanied by the sound of waves. The hotel is austere in a good way; a relaxing and simple beach retreat perfectly in tune with the island’s stark beauty.After reserving your spot for our retreat, you should go under CONCIERGE to customize your accommodation, choosing the elasticity of your mattress, the fill of your pillow and the size of your slippers. For the rest you do not need to bother; we have taken care of your meals and transportation.
RETREAT DAY #1: ARRIVAL AT COCO – MAT ECO RESIDENCES SERIFOS
According to ship schedules at this time of year, arrival at the port of Serifos will be around 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. We will welcome you there and drive to Vagià bay which is located just 6.5 km / 4 miles from the port (10 minutes). Distances in Serifos are rather short and we won’t need more than 35 minutes to travel even to the most remote places of the island during the retreat. Arrival at Coco-Mat Eco Residences and room allocation. Welcome drinks at the reception and dinner at the hotel to get to know each other and feel the aura of the place.
RETREAT DAY #2: FOOD STYLING & PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION – 1
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL
This morning we begin with our first styling & photography session in a fully equipped kitchen of our hotel. Béatrice Peltre will guide you through the secrets of food styling and the right settings on your camera, presenting her approach to styling and photography, which reflects her friendly and kind personality. We will have a variety of surfaces, props and fabrics at our disposal and many raw ingredients to “play” with! Béa will show you how to transform a simple dish to a real beauty!
LUNCH AT THE HOTEL
After lunch we can rest for a while and then you may enjoy the crystal clear waters of Vagià beach in front of our hotel. Later on, we will drive to Chora to visit the castle at the top and walk in the alleys among the chalk-white houses enjoying a lifestyle photography session. The view from Chora and the light at sunset is unique so we will be there to capture the elusive golden hour when the light is red-orange and soft -a brief window of time elsewhere, but long in Greece. We will dine at a traditional restaurant in Chora.
RETREAT DAY #3: FOOD STYLING & PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION – 2
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL
In the morning we continue our styling & photography session with Béatrice Peltre going deeper into the core of food styling & photography.
LUNCH AT A BEACHSIDE TAVERN
For lunch we will drive to a beachside tavern to experience a meal in a typical traditional Greek island tavern, discovering slow-cooked dishes of totally hearty Greek food, prepared by a local cook who is considered an expert in real Greek home-cooked food. After lunch we will drive to Chora for the thematic workshop “Play with clay”, held in a local ceramic studio.
AFTERNOON TOUR OF THE ISLAND
Then we head out for an afternoon tour of the island. Serifos has a long mining history. Its soil is rich in mineral ore deposits, so the island quickly prospered thanks to its various mines and in the past it was known as “the Iron Island”. Today rusting trucks, railway tracks and parts of pithead machinery lie abandoned on the island’s hillsides and several galleries are actually open to visitors in the southwest side of the island. The place is very interesting for photographic exploration; there is a magical atmosphere in which time seems to be standing still. Serifos also boasts an impressive 116 churches and sanctuaries that ought to be admired. We may visit one of them, the Taxiarchon Monastery – a 16th-century monastery – to take photographs and then drop by the Chrysoloras winery, where the owner and winemaker Christos Chrysoloras makes bio certified wine with a local grape variety called Serfiotiko, which produces a unique white wine*.
DINNER AT THE HOTEL
* Distances in Serifos are rather short so the tour will be a light one, based on the preferences of the group.
RETREAT DAY #4: HANDS-ON TRAINING ON IMAGE POST-PROCESSING & GREEK COOKING CLASS
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL
After breakfast we will attend a Greek cooking class. A talented chef will teach you how to cook a special dish of Greek cuisine and a local cook will guide the group through the basics of traditional “filo pastry” for a Greek pie (“pita-making”). Most home cooks in Greece do not use the store-bought thin sheets of “filo”, since they make their own: a thick, crunchy “filo” made with olive oil. This “filo” can be used for almost all Greek pies and since it has no butter, it is a crust that can be used in vegan recipes as well. After the cooking class or after lunch (depending on the preferences of the group) Béatrice Peltre will give you a hands-on training on how to best process your images, have review and critique sessions, in order to help you go home with images that are ready to be printed or put online, sharing her favorite tips, tricks, and shortcuts to get you ready for Lightroom (if you are a beginner).
LUNCH AT THE HOTEL
In the afternoon we can have some rest and then spend time swimming at the beach, walking or riding a bike in the area until dinner time, when we lay the table on the beach. We take the opportunity to capture the elusive golden hour when the light is perfect, for photographing the dinner table at sunset, in front of the sea in Vagià bay. This whole afternoon is ideal to stay in our swimsuits and feel the freedom of Greek life by the seaside, since formal attire is not required at dinner! When dinner is served, we will feast and raise our glasses to good food and good health as a seal of our new friendship.
RETREAT DAY #5: FAREWELL BREAKFAST
This morning after a good, soulful breakfast you pack your bags and we will drive you to the port of Serifos where we will say goodbye. You will leave feeling de-stressed, re-energized and inspired to dive into new adventures. You will board on a ship and sail to the port of Piraeus (2.5-hour trip). The Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” is approximately 45 km/27.96 miles from the port (50 minutes by taxi). More information regarding travel arrangements will be sent to you after registration.
NB: this is a prospective itinerary. It is subject to modest modifications, dependent on local weather, new opportunities and the preferences of the group.
The nearest airport is the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” which is serviced by many international and domestic airlines. Piraeus, the port of Athens, is approximately 45 km/27.96 miles from the airport (50 minutes by taxi). Serifos is daily connected to Piraeus by high speed vessels (2.5-hour trip) and ferries (5-hour trip). You will need to arrive in Athens no later than 1:30 p.m. on September 22nd (for the first group) and on September 26th (for the second group) due to ship schedules at this time of year. More information regarding travel arrangements will be sent to you after registration.
Serifos has a wonderful climate with marvelous summers, beautiful sunshine, and cool, refreshing northeastern winds (called “meltemia” in Greek), but in September the weather is even better. The wind is gentle, the light is softer and the atmosphere is pleasant and calm. The average maximum temperature in late September is 240C/75.2°F at midday and the average minimum one is 180/64.4°F in the evening.
So, you should take your swimsuit with you to enjoy the lovely beach in front of the hotel, summer clothes and a few light cardigans or a jacket to wear at night.
“The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece,
eternal summer gilds them yet…”