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Join this wine themed holiday in Crete for a wonderful chance to discover the authentic cuisine and local culture of this unique Greek island. Late August is when the vine harvest begins and marks the start of a long celebration. During your visit, you can expect lots of welcoming people, wonderful cuisine, and long meals among friends and family, which make rural Crete the magical place it is. Besides participating in the vine harvest, this amazing holiday will give you the chance to cook with wine, vine leafs, and molasses, visit winemakers, and do some old-fashioned grape stomping!
Accommodation options are carefully selected and usually come in the form of a small local hotel, villa or house with traditional architecture. All are of exceptional quality as Hand Picked Greece pays close attention to every detail in order to ensure the highest standards. All accommodation is certified by the local tourist authorities and you can expect the hosts to be friendly and welcoming. Lodgings will be located within a short distance of the holiday base and will usually have wonderful gardens and swimming pools.
Your accommodation can range from small traditional cottages to larger luxury villas. All accommodation is located in and around the village of Litsarda, close to the olive farm. When you get in touch with Hand Picked Greece to plan your holiday, you will also discuss your specific accommodation requirements. They will provide a range of options for your particular tour, including photos, before you book the holiday.
You will be picked up from the airport and transferred to your accommodation in the area of Apokoronas, a leafy region in the northern coast of Crete with numerous villages between the olive groves and vineyards. Upon arrival, there will be a small reception with drinks and meze along with info on the schedule of the week. The evening will be free to explore the village by foot or bicycles.
Meals included: snack.
After breakfast, you will start your day with a visit to a 16th century monastery, where you will receive a guided tour by the monks of the facilities and, of course, the cellars. Later on, you will visit the central food market in Chania along with your chef and buy provisions for the workshop. During the visit, you will have the chance to admire the Venetian harbor of Chania and walk round the old part of town. In the evening, you will take part in the cooking workshop before having dinner with the group.
Meals included: breakfast and dinner.
Today, you will join in a vineyard tour of the area, before taking part in the grape harvest. Afterwards, it's back to the winery for the grape stomping, a rare and fun experience! Wine stomping is an old fashioned, almost ancient method of wine making. During the stomping process, you will also prepare the fire for a barbecue that will last throughout the day.
Meals included: breakfast and early dinner.
After breakfast, you will take part in a workshop focused on sieving the grape juice and starting the wine making process. During the seminar, you will also make grape syrup and molasses, which you will use during your evening cooking workshop. In the late afternoon, you will participate in the cooking workshop before having dinner with the group.
Meals included: breakfast, early dinner.
Time spent walking: 40 minutes.
After breakfast, you will cycle to the local apiary. There you can learn about the local flora combinations and the types of honey produced in the area. You will sample honey and buy supplies for your cooking workshop. Protective equipment will be provided. Option for a car transfer will also be available. Lunch will be served at the local kafeneio (caf) or at the beekeepers garden with wine and raki, herbal tea, and honey sweets. After lunch, you will take part in an olive oil soap workshop, where you will learn to make your own handmade soap using olive oil. The evening will be free to spend it as you like.
Meals included: breakfast and lunch.
Time spent walking or cycling: 40 minutes.
After breakfast, you will take part in an excursion to the coastal palm forest of Preveli, in southern Crete. There, you will have the chance to admire the nature, swim in the river or the sea, and even take up a windsurfing lesson if you feel like it. Dinner will be served at a slow food restaurant at the foothills of the White Mountains.
Meals included: breakfast and dinner.
After breakfast, you will have the rest of the morning free to spend as you wish. In the afternoon, you will join the class for the last cooking workshop, followed by a farewell barbecue with the group.
Meals included: breakfast and dinner.
After breakfast, you will depart for the airport (CHQ) or city center of Chania depending on you further travelling arrangements.
Meals included: breakfast.
Crete is the fifth biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea and lies on the southern frontier of Europe, combining wonderful seaside sceneries alongside a mountainous terrain. With a strategic geographical position, Crete has always been a cultural crossroads with many Venetian, Arabic, and Turkish influences. It is a culinary haven for anyone looking to discover authentic cooking and eating. It is also a magnificent island with dramatic scenery and thousands of years of history.
The district of Apokoronas is in north western Crete, just on the foot of the White Mountains. A leafy, fertile region dispersed with numerous tiny villages where little has changed with the passage of time and tourism. Many of the residents still follow a very traditional and tranquil way of life. Local businesses are concentrated around artisan food products, farming and livestock. You will gain an insight into the local life and enjoy the wonderful bounty of the region.
Greek cuisine is a combination between the Italian and the Arabic cuisines. The people still eat what their ancestors ate hundreds of years back. They eat wild edible greens collected during long walks, snails, and different bean varieties. They use barley rusks instead of bread with their meals, make kalitsounia, little pies with dough rather than filo pastry, and fry them. They prefer the local cheeses and herbs, avoid veal, and celebrate with lamb or goat. Cretans eat cheese with honey and put olive oil everywhere, even in desserts. And, of course, they continue to cook at home in the same simple way their great grandmothers did. The result is a naturally sustainable way of life.
In Crete, the diet consists of mainly pulses, vegetables, and fruits. Dairy comes next; fish, chicken, and eggs follow; and red meat is eaten only occasionally. Traditionally, Greeks used to eat meat only a few times each month, most likely on a Sunday and usually in the form of a stew or casserole with plenty of vegetables, accompanied by handmade pasta or rice. Grilled or roast meat was served during celebrations. Elaborate desserts were only prepared during festive periods as well. Food is not only a mean of survival here; it is the foundation of the entire Greek culture. People are truly dedicated to eating and drinking and will spend long hours preparing and even longer sitting with family and friends to enjoy a meal.
Arrive at Chania International Airport (CHQ). Hand Picked Greece will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.