8 Days Hands-On Cooking & Cultural Experience in Crete

8 Days Hands-On Cooking & Cultural Experience in Crete

  • Lasithi, Sitia, Crete, Greece

Greek Cuisine Cooking Holiday in Greece

Our week-long cooking holiday vacation package is designed for those who want to taste the real Cretan food and learn how to cook it. Let Anna teach you her grandmother's recipes and discover how natural food really tastes when cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients, naturally grown by local people. A typical Cretan menu is the key to longevity and wellness. With 8 portions of coarsely processed grains, 6 portions of vegetables and greens, 3 portions of fruit, and a good dose of olive oil, you are bound to give your body a healthy boost. Protein is consumed in the form of dairy, eggs and lean meats, typically fish, seafood, poultry and rabbit, and occasionally kid and lamb. With wine consumed daily and good company to share it with, you will take more than a healthy recipe book back home!

Highlights

  • 5 cooking classes
  • Market visit, farm visit
  • Richtis Gorge walk, picnic
  • Honey tasting, wine tasting, cheese tasting
  • Meals with beverages and wines
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 5 days with instruction
  • Greek, Italian, English
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Cressa Ghitonia Spa Hotel

At each of Cressa Ghitonias 15 houses, suites, studios or rooms you will have the opportunity to travel back in time, but still benefit from all modern comforts. Each-and-every-one of our rooms is truly unique, with historical value, and it has maintained its heritage.

It was awarded Best New Small Hotel in Europe, 2011 by CNBC International Hotel Awards, in association with Bloomberg Television. Cressa Ghitonia has been awarded four times in the International Hotel & Property Awards (in association with CNBC and Bloomberg Television) for the quality of its construction and design.

Cressa Ghitonia is a designated Traditional Cretan Neighbourhood of the 1800s that has been fully reconstructed while maintaining all of its original elements. It is located in the highest part of the mountainous village of Sfaka, just 6 km from one of the beaches of the fish-village of Mochlos and other neighbouring attractions.

The Cressa Ghitonia SPA, which reminds the visitor of an actual cave, offers a great variety of excellent services, including customized body treatments, beauty therapies, massages, but also access to a Sauna, a Jacuzzi and a Hammam.

Amenities

  • Air conditioning
  • Balcony or patio
  • Bar and restaurant
  • Ensuite
  • Flat-panel TV
  • Free Parking
  • Free WiFi
  • In-room safe
  • Olive tree garden
  • Private kitchen
  • Spa (Jacuzzi, Steam Room, Sauna)
  • Sun lounge
  • Swimming pool

Kavousi Stone Built Villa

Restored by an archeologist with great respect to the Cretan architectural style and care on every detail, it offers comfort as well as originality to the visitor. Walking distance to the vilage square, and 3 km away from the nearest beach. Sitting at the top of Kavousi village, this 2 bedroom villa has all the modern amenities, 365 panoramic views of the landscape and is well positioned for walking to the ancient olive tree and the archaeological site of Azorias. Whether you want to stay in the privacy of your own terrace or the sip a beer at the local square, this is the place for you. Ideal for families or group of friends.

Amenities

  • Air conditioning 
  • Family friendly
  • Flat-panel TV
  • Free WiFi
  • Linen and towels
  • Mini market
  • Open plan kitchen
  • Pet friendly
  • Terrace and sun loungers
  • Village tavernas
  • Walking distance to points of interest
  • Walking distance to Tholos beach

Sunday - Welcome Degustation dinner at a local restaurant

  • Take your time to relax from your journey or maybe take a sneaky dip in the sea, if you have time. Feel free to explore the surroundings and sap the atmosphere of the place. We can recommend walks, photographic outings, lookout points and, of course, lovely beaches.
  • We will meet around 8.00pm to discuss our cooking course details over a local aperitif followed by the degustation dinner, at a local restaurant.

Monday - Two cooking classes lunch and dinner time

  • Enjoy breakfast at your leisure. Today you will meet our cook Anna. Our first cooking lesson will take place around 12.00pm. We will prepare and marinate tonights dinner and pull together a light lunch with plenty of fresh ingredients followed by outdoor lunch on the terrace. Afternoon is for you to rest or visit one of the nearby blue flag beaches.
  • We will get the dinner going to slow cook while you rest or get ready for dinner. Around 8.00pm join us for last minute tips on finishing the food and preparing some starters to get our appetite going. Dinner will follow on the terrace!

Tuesday - Visit our local producers and dinner cooking class

  • Come with us for a visit at our local producers. We will take a ride after breakfast to visit our suppliers, our fellow bee keeper, our cheese maker or our organic herbs gardener. Enjoy their hospitality, get to taste their products on site and maybe even pick your own. *Don't forget to take your swimming costume with you. We can recommend our favourite nearby local beaches, but dont tell anybody. Its a secret!
  • Tonight, we will take our time to lay a three course meal from scratch. We will start our cooking lesson preparations around 6.30pm!

Wednesday - Cheese and wine tasting in the evening

  • Morning is free for you to explore the area or visit local beaches.
  • Around 8.00 pm we start our appreciation of local wine and cheese. We will also learn how to prepare local appetisers to accompany your wine to impress your friends and family back home. Cretan wine is facing a revival with ancient local varieties being attended to, producing wines with distinctive flavours and some very unique combinations. Wine drinking dates back to Minoan times when it was served in beautiful crystal canisters.

Thursday - A day of extras

  • We left this day free for you to explore the beauties of the island a bit further from home! Feel free to discover Crete by yourself or choose one of our unique, exclusive experiences!
  • Whether its fishing with captain Michalis, or cooking like a Minoan with Dr Morrison, expert in Minoan cooking vessels or lunching with Dr Psaroudakis, a local nutritionist specialising in East Crete's edible landscape, you will take home an unforgettable memory to cherish for years to come.

Friday - It's a sweet day

  • Start the day by preparing a range of Crete's traditional sweets, from 'kaltsounia' to fruit preserves to cookies and cakes made with olive oil. This is a fun-hands on experience everybody will enjoy. Get creative with your dough, and why not take some back to share with family and friends.
  • We left the rest of the day free for you to visit one of the local beaches or Richtis Gorge. Forage your way down to the gorge and enjoy a dip and a picnic by the waterfall lake. (Guided tour to the gorge and picnic can be arranged)

Saturday - Traditional handmade pasta cooking lesson and farewell dinner

  • Today Anna will take you back in time where women made their pasta by hand gossiping around the kitchen table. Join in this chit chatter hands on experience end enjoy the different ways pasta was cooked in our forth fathers days.
  • Tonights dinner out will be at a village you havent been to or at Cretan fiesta that usually takes place in one village or another over the summer weekends. We will tap into Cretan culture and even join in a Cretan dance.

Sunday - Is this goodbye already?

  • Enjoy breakfast at your leisure and chill out before your departure. If your flight is later in the evening and you are looking for some ideas, just let us know earlier in the week. We are happy to help you.

Situated in Lasithi prefecture, East Crete, away from mass tourism or pretentious local folklore. Our chosen hotel accommodations are Just over 1-hour drive by car from Heraklion airport, you will enjoy the ride overlooking an endless succession of coves and islands off the northern coast of Crete on your left and the mountainous landscapes peppered with little villages in the distance and even ancient ruins on your right.

Cretan diet is the reason for the premise that Mediterranean diet is healthy. It was during the 1960s that the Seven Countries Study established the connection between Cretan Diet and Longevity. Cretan residents had the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease amongst all populations, despite their high consumption of fats from olive oil.

Abundant in vitamins and antioxidants and Omega-3s, Cretan cuisine blends high fibre cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables, wild plants, and herbs, with high quality protein and products. A recent study reconfirms the results. But Cretan diet is not only about food, it is also about the culture, the landscape and the good company to enjoy it. We thought that with a little help from a friend, many people can learn its basic features and take it back home.

We have left enough time throughout our itinerary to enjoy sunshine and swimming in the nearby beaches or taking a walk in gorges and mountains around our villa. We also left Thursday free for you to explore the beauties of the island a bit further from home! Feel free to discover Crete by yourself or you follow our recommendations on very interesting activities and beautiful places to visit.

Eat like a Minoan

If you are an ancient cultures lover, we could organise a night of Minoan dinner. A team of archaeologist will prepare a demonstration of Minoan cooking with original recipes cooked in ceramic replicas of Minoan cooking vessels, based on archaeological evidence and studies. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and travel back in time with their stories of Minoan cooking and living, and even get your hands dirty having a go at one of the dishes. (depending on availability)

Going fishing

If you are keen on fishing we can arrange for you a boat fishing experience like no other. Our captain will take you to sea hideout and show you how to fish big fish in the Libyan Sea. You will be the first to crash salt crusted white sand in a tiny island, collect your own sea salt and sunbath among the stones of an ancient amphitheatre. Bring back your fish and we will show how (quite) a bit of salt can work wonders on a fish recipe. How about that? (depending on availability)

Chrissi Island tour

Grab your swimming costumes, towels, sunscreens and even your fishing rods and head off to Chrissi Island. You will board on our friends boat about 10.00 from Ierapetra town and head to the beautiful sand-dune island off the Southern coast of Crete, jumping into the water wherever and whenever you fancy, assuming your captain agrees! The crew will cook for you on board and even prepare your own fish if you are lucky to catch one. I bet the captain will oblige to tell you all about the wealth of life of the Mediterranean Sea, the fishing traditions and local fishy recipes. (depending on availability)

Spinalonga island sightseeing

Known as To Nisi by local people or The Island by those who have read the best-selling English novel The Island by Victoria Hislop. Unpack the layers of Cretan history through time. A 15 minute boat trip of the coast of Plaka at Elounda, will take you to what was once a Cretan peninsular.

The island was carved out of the coast for defence purposes during the Venetian occupation and has faced key transformations through time. In addition to the abandoned leper colony and the fortress, Spinalonga is known for its small pebble beaches and shallow waters.

Stay for lunch at Plaka bay and enjoy the holiday buzz. Let us recommend some tasty hang outs in the area and go on and take your pick on what your fancy.

On the way back, may we suggest a visit at Kritsa village. The village is packed with local character and goodies. Women of Kritsa were famous for their weaving, lace making and embroidery skills and it is still possible to buy handmade items.

In light of the many hours work in handmade pieces you might think these items are expensive, but most people these days are content with more commercially produced items that are also available.

Discover East Crete excursion

Not that we need our encouragement to discover the beauty of Eastern Crete, but we can put together an itinerary for you to discover hidden gems, from monasteries to museums, from spectacular blue flag beaches to places to eat, from lookout points to shady caves. Lets put together for you an itinerary that fits your interests and appetite.

Lastros Village, Greece

Cretan Thyme is offering traditional cooking and culture holidays in Crete, Greece.

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