2 Days Authentic Crete Cookery Holidays in Greece

  • Crete, Greece

2 Days Authentic Crete Cookery Holidays in Greece

  • Crete, Greece

Food and Wine Holidays in Greece

This short break Cretan cooking holidays will let you enjoy on the first day some of the finest of Cretan organic wines, spend some time in a vineyard with a local farmer and join a picnic lunch with just picked veggies and grilled meats. Accommodate at a beautiful mountain resort at the southern part of Heraklion region called Thalori. Have dinner with a variety of local specialties accompanied with local wine and, the coming morning, drive and walk with Markos to go and milk the goats. Returning to the resort, join Angela to make fresh home made bread and when is ready eat it. Have lunch with local specialties and return back late in the afternoon.

Highlights

  • Baking and cooking class
  • Food tasting and wine tasting
  • Vegetarian, vegan, and Mediterranean cuisine
  • Farm visit, palace tour, and village trip
  • 2 lunches, dinner, breakfast
  • 1 night accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • 2 days with instruction
  • English
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During this holiday, you will be accommodated either at Villa Kerasia or at Kouriton House.

Villa Kerasia is a registered villa in Crete and offers a wide range of quality services. It is featured in some of the most popular magazines and ranks among the most exclusive destinations in the area, in terms of design and aesthetics, location, character, and services.

The House of Kourites is an authentic stone built lodging, restored with respect to its history. The house is located in an unparalleled natural setting, blended with historical and cultural heritage. This hospitable house is suited for holiday makers, gatherings, and a meeting point with the tradition, culture, and agriculture of Crete.

Day 1: arrival, wine tasting, food tasting, cooking class

  • Wine tasting, producers visit at vineyard and casserole cooking class
  • Pick up from your hotel / airport / port at 9:00 a.m.
  • The day starts and you will drive to the village of Sivas where we visit one of the best small family wineries providing organic wines.
  • Spend some time there tasting a variety of wines. Ending the visit we drive to a vineyard at the near region.
  • Michalis, the farmer, will take us to his small gardens and harvest fresh veggies tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, parsley, and more for our salad. In the mean time Michalis will start a fire to cook the meats we bought on our way.
  • In a slow way ,we prepare our salad and few more appetizers, drinking some wine and having fun. When the meats are ready, we will have our lunch accompanied with local wines.
  • Ending the lunch, we drive south direction the range of mountains of Asteroussia and the village of Kapetaniana where our accommodation is.
  • In the late afternoon, around 6:00 p.m., we will arrive at Thalori resort.
  • Start the cooking class at 7:30 p.m. and spend as long as you like at the restaurant of the resort having for dinner the foods we cooked, accompanied with wine and ending the night with lots of Raki, the Cretan snap.

Day 2: farm visit, bread making, excursion

  • Goats milking, cheese, cheese pies and home bread making.
  • Visit to archaeological sites of Gortys, and Phaestos, Kokkinos Pyrgos village.
  • The day starts at 6:30 a.m. Take a short drive with Markos to the place where the goats are to milk some of them and get fresh milk for your breakfast.
  • Drive back to the resort and join Angela or Anna to prepare fresh soft white goat or sheep cheese, cheese pies, and home fresh bread.
  • A little later, have the fresh milk and the just cooked bread with a few more local specialties for breakfast.
  • Ending the breakfast, we leave the resort and drive down hill for a visit to the Roman capital city of Gortys, the city where Apostle Paul found the first Christian church in Crete.
  • Keep driving west to the next ancient Minoan period city of Phaestos and, ending the visits, we will drive to the village of Kokkinos Pyrgos, where we will have lunch at a sea front restaurant with just caught fish and local specialties.
  • After lunch, we will drive back to Heraklion where our trip ends.

This holiday will take place in Crete, Greece.

In Crete, a meal is not only a celebration but also a culmination of various events. Enjoy culinary explorations that blend all the secrets particular of the region of Crete and let you enjoy and learn about them first-hand alongside the locals. Going from one region of Crete to another changes not only what you eat, but how you eat it, how its prepared and what accompanies it. Each region is a mystery unto itself. Immerse yourself in the fantastic flavours and mouth-watering smells of regional Crete.

We believe that the most authentic way to experience and understand the heritage of Cretan culture, nutrition, history, way of life and its people, is in the company of a local scholar, walking through streets which are alive with religion, art and history, immersing in the architecture, learning about the life, traditions, and customs of Cretan people, past and present.

You will sample some of the finest meals as well as fruit and vegetables in the world. You will drink selected spirits (ouzo, raki, liquors) and wines that will elevate your spirit and help you relax, and relish the excellent traditional cooking in some of the less obvious restaurants that we will point you out.

Follow Porto Club Vegetarian lead, come on a route of adventure, travel and wonder as you explore the mysteries, flavours and customs particular to various Cretan regions on our unique and authentic Cretan vegetarian food holiday. We can promise you we will not be part of any tourist trail or the sheep following mentality. Our aim has always been to offer quality not quantity, so Porto Club remains small but perfectly formed.

We offer a unique opportunity to experience at first hand authentic Cretan regional cooking techniques and recipes that have been developed and handed down over generations. All of the ingredients you will use are bought each morning from local open market and so you will be working with fresh fruit and vegetables in season.

Throughout our cooking you will learn about the ingredients and the traditions around the dishes. You will learn the passion of the Cretan kitchen and, importantly, have a lot of fun and enjoyment doing it. Your week in Crete will be as much a hands on cooking experience as a cultural one. George will introduce you to the philosophy of local cooking and its traditions. You will learn about the history of Cretan cuisine and how it was influenced by its occupation for more than 2000 years.

You will learn the inspirations behind the Cretan dishes, the methods employed by local producers, how to make a variety of Cretan dishes from simple ingredients you can find back home, how very few ingredients can be the basis for 6 or 7 dishes. You will learn how to prepare traditional Cretan dishes adapted to vegetarian requirements but never compromising on flavor as well as the cooking techniques and methods used to create the dishes.

Cretans eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables. The fat we use in our cooked food and salads is mainly olive oil. We eat pulses and vegetables in large amounts. They are the basis in our daily diet. No more than two or three days would go without pulses in a meal and not a day without vegetables, wild greens, olives, uncooked fresh vegetables and greens as salad, Cretan rusks and fruits. We eat more fruit than most, in fact, 4 times more than the other inhabitants of the Mediterranean.

A traveler in Greece when goes for lunch or dinner can find a huge variety of vegetarian and vegan meals in Estiatorion (restaurant). In these restaurants they present their specialties in show tables so guests can view the meals and choose one of them. Estiatorion is restaurant that operates mostly for local people. They always supply a big number of free-meat dishes we call them Ladera. You can find them at taverns or other kind of restaurants but Estiatorion is the ones I always suggest.

I have no compunction in saying that Crete and Greece is an ideal destination for a vegan or vegetarian, at least nutritionally. There is still a long way to go to connect with the philosophy and spirit of the vegan way, but any vegan visitor will be surprised at how harmoniously local Cretan people live with animals, almost all of whom free range in the fields or mountains. I hope and believe respect is a good first step between Cretans and vegans or vegetarians worldwide.

For many Greeks, especially in the countryside and islands, five days a week their meal is vegetarian or vegan. Yes, Greeks are meat and dairy eaters, but because such a large percentage of our diet consists of pulses, vegetables, greens and fruits, a vegan or vegetarian visitor will not have any difficulty in finding a huge variety of vegetarian food all over Greece. You don't have to apologize or explain why you don't eat meat.

Taste the healthy Cretan and Greek Mediterranean meat-free delicacies and our fine wine. You shall feel strong humanity, away from the stress of our daily life. You shall feel the warmth of Greek and Cretan company. You shall be captured by the place, perhaps because you think that time has stood still or because they welcome you with a shot of Tsikoudia with Cretan rusks and fresh tomato or a tsipouro or an ouzo.

Cretan dishes

  • Casseroles
  • Dolmadakia vine leaf wraps stuffed with sorrel, pumpkin flowers
  • Ladera
  • Mageirefta
  • Moussakas
  • Saganaki (fried cheese)
  • Sfakiani (stuffed pitta)
  • Soups
  • Stuffed peppers, tomatoes, courgettes and Aubergines (Papoutsakia)

Cretan bakery and desserts

Cookies: On Crete, these cookies are traditionally made and served over the Christmas and New Year's holiday season. They are enjoyed at other times of year as well, but in December and January, they come together to create a fabulous collection of tastes and textures.

Kalitsounia: These sweet cheese pastries are an Easter favourite on the island of Crete.

Kouloura: These sweet breads are an Easter favourite as well on the island of Crete.

Kourabiethes: Kourabiethes (also kourambiedes) are traditional celebration cookies, served at Christmas, New Year's, weddings, and baptisms. Toasted almond shortbread-type cookies topped with a generous coating of confectioner's sugar, they melt in the mouth.

Melomakarouna: Melomakarona are a Christmas tradition in Greece (but enjoyed at other times of the year). All over Greece, kitchens will be filled with the wonderful smell of these spice cookies that will adorn tables, be given as hostess gifts, and eaten in huge quantities.

Pastries: these cookies are traditionally made and served over the Easter holiday season.

Pies: Crete is famous for its cuisine and mostly of its traditional Kalitsounia, which are small pies that can be filled with different fillings, such as cheese (tyropitakia) or greens and wild herbs (Hortopitakia). These unique delicacies are served across the entire island and are a very tasteful and healthy snack you can enjoy any time of the day, as an appetizer or light meal.

Spoon Sweets: Spoon sweets are healthy confections, visually pleasing, distinctive, and extremely versatile. Offering them to guests is a wonderful tradition and a sign of "sweet" hospitality. Nowadays they are used as healthy spreads, in baked goods, and to top ice cream, cakes, and yogurt. Spoon sweets reflect the spirit of the Cretan and Greek hospitality. Spoon sweets are a traditional offering in Greek homes. Spoon sweets are fruits, preserved in syrup. They are commonly known as "spoon sweets" which translates to sweet of the spoon. due to the traditional way of serving the sweets on a well-filled teaspoon accompanied by cold water.

  • 1 night accommodation
  • 2 lunches
  • A lunch at Kokkinos Pyrgos sea front restaurant with sea specialties
  • A visit to archaeological sites of Gortys and Phaestos
  • A visit to local winery and tasting of wine and raki
  • A visit to producers vineyard with picnic lunch
  • All cooking materials and ingredients
  • All transport to and from the excursions
  • Breakfast
  • Cretan cookery lessons on day 1
  • Dinner consisting of the food prepared during the cooking class accompanied by water, local wine, and raki
  • Return transfers to and from Heraklion airport, port, or hotel

Testimonials

  • Review by Carolyn and Ian

    "It was a memorable tour and as Ian said a true "slow food" experience! Thanks for your generosity and hospitality, for sharing your passion for Crete and showing us all the wonderful things it has to offer. Our time in Crete was much enriched by joining your tour. Thanks again."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Suzanne

    "First of all thank you for the wonderful week with you in Crete and immersing me in the Cretan culture, food and beautiful scenery. Your vibrant personality made it so much more fun. Thank you also for sending me the recipes, I will put them to good use. Again thank you again for the wonderful time in Crete, and the cave dinner was truly a highlight during that week."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Diana

    "I just wanted to say, that you are a true professional and a very special person. You made the experience truly memorable. You treated all of us like family instead of just strangers.You took us to local eating establishments which really enriched the experience. The cooking classes were a lot of fun, they were very hands on, which I bloody loved. You went out of your way to make sure that we all had a fabulous time.The lodgings were very nice and the location was really spectacular! George I will always remember my time there as very special, and wish you and your family the very best. I will always have a grand smile as I remember my time in Crete."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by David from United States

    "I cannot thank you enough for the truly remarkable experience in Crete. Since I arrived back in the USA, I have cooked several meals using the principles you shared with us and enjoyed every one of them.Unfortunately we cannot get the freshest ingredients, but even the techniques you showed (simple combinations of ingredients that show up in most dishes, grating tomatoes, different ways of chopping onions, cooking with potatoes, and so on) have been very useful. I cannot wait to entertain others with the Cretan cuisine!The best part of the trip was that you took us to places that tourists would probably never know about, where you knew the people and their families. That made the vacation especially authentic and memorable. Even the long drives were okay, because we got to experience the wonderful sights of the island."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Christina

    "David and I enjoyed the week we spent in Crete. The sites we visited and the food that was cooked and ate were definitely unique and delicious. Below are some feedbacks on the culinary tour.Thaloris location in the mountains and it is integrated into the village provide a local Cretan experience. Georges knowledge on Crete history and Thaloris hospitality makes the visit enjoyable.The various local restaurants that we ate at enabled David and I taste local Crete food and cooking. The ingredients were very fresh, very delicious. The cooking experience where we got hands-on experience in preparing and cooking Cretan food each night.The small group setting allows the group members and George to interact and build close relationship during the week. This helps adjust the flexible itinerary if the group likes to explore/visit some different sites. The bottom line: the food and alcoholic beverages were great."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Chantal

    "Our trip was great, but of course, the highlight was our week on Crete. We have already made tsaziki, lots of boiled and sauted greens, the cucumber appetizers, the eggplant dip, and greek salad. We bought some grape leaves and phyllo dough so will try making some more dishes soon.As far as critical thoughts about our stay in Crete, we enjoyed the trip and learned so much about Cretan food, culture, and history. Thank you again for a fantastic week full of learning and good memories."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Rene

    "I am writing to you because I am still awestruck by the experience of a lifetime! I could never have imagined how wonderful, gracious, enjoyable and entertaining a vacation it was to be. I absolutely fell in love with Crete and George. I couldn't have planned a better trip and I can't wait to go back. Thanks for all your help and please tell everyone this is the vacation not to be missed. There was plenty of everything. I didn't want for anything!"

    Porto Club website, edited

Heraklion, Greece

Travel provider for small group exclusive weekly packages on the island of Crete. Food and wine, cultural visits and hands on cooking classes in Greece.

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2 days / 1 night

Availability

This vacation is available from April 1 to August 30 in 2017 and 2018. 

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