2 Days Gastronomic Foodie Wanderings in Crete, Greece

  • Porto Club Travel Services, 28, Efodou Street, 71303 Heraklion Crete, Greece

Overview

Vegetarian Food Tour in Greece

Join the Cretan hospitality! Cretans says that we have the finest gastronomical, tasty and healthy solutions proved and signed by the medical science society. Wild green pies, spinach pies, Raw veggies salads, Veggies in the pot or in oven Cretan traditional way, cooked a way only Cretans do, and much more. Enjoy food and cooking class that blend all the secrets particular of Crete and let you enjoy and learn about them first-hand alongside the locals. 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 flavors and mouth-watering smells of regional Crete.

Highlights

  • Hands-on cooking class
  • Taste local cooking near the village of Dafnes
  • Visit a women cooperative to observe the unique art pastry
  • Visit beekepers and taste honeycombs straight from the beehive
  • Taste Greek wine and the Cretan snap, Raki
  • Visit the amazing Knossos palace
  • 1 night accommodation
  • 2 days with instruction
  • English
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Greece abounds with comfortable and characteristic accommodation, and particularly in Crete, you will receive a traditional warm welcome that only grows warmer the longer you stay.

Villa Kerasia

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. Experience has shown that guests who have enjoyed a proper “villa experience” in Crete or abroad, never go back to hotels for their holidays. The villa has two rooms at the ground floor and five rooms at the first floor.

Day 1: Arrival, cooking class

  • Arrival the airport or port of Heraklion. Reception at the airport or port.
  • Transportation to Villa Kerasia, 15 kilometers south city of Heraklion.
  • Dinner at the villa will include a variety of Cretan-Mediterranean, vegetarian, and vegan specialties. This evening’s hands-on cooking class focuses on vegetables and George will teach you preparation techniques that transform basic ingredients into the stars of the table, full of richness, color, and flavor.
  • After the class, sit down as a group and enjoy the meal you’ve learned to cook accompanied by local wine.

Day 2 - The palace of Knossos, spend the day with locals

  • After breakfast, put the luggage in the car and start the day by visiting the palace of Knossos. A must-see for somebody that visits Crete. Not visiting it, is as food without salt.
  • Ending the visit of Knossos, you will drive south to the near village of Dafnes, where you will meet a local lady. She is a living treasure and she prepares unique foods. You will stay for lunch and taste her cooking.
  • After lunch, you will drive for a visit to a beekeeper and a women cooperative workshop. The place is 20 kilometers far from the city of Heraklion; the beautiful untouched nature is perfect pasture for bees. Old traditional beekeeping methods ensure ecological, clean, and free from any additives honey and other bee products. The first honey of the season is collected from spring thyme blossoms. This golden-yellow honey is the perfect source of nature's ingredients.
  • You will take a break at the small local restaurant run by the beekeepers since 1949. The owners, two brothers, have been beekeepers for all their lifetime, taking the business from their father. You will taste honeycombs straight from the beehive and learn everything about bees and beekeeping, as well as having a kind of pancake dipped in honey, called tiganite, and small cheese pies with honey in company with local wine and the Cretan snap, Raki. You will definitely feel the positive effect to your body and soul.
  • You will then visit a women cooperative at the near village of Marathos, where they make the very special Xompliasto Koulouri, unique art pastry with small and bigger round breads.
  • Drive back the airport or port of Heraklion and your tour ends.
  • Visit a local woman near the village of Dafnes
  • Visit local beekeepers
  • Visit the palace of Knossos

This retreat will take place on the beautiful island of Crete, in Greece.

Activities
  • Cooking classes
  • Swimming
  • Swimming pool
  • Wine tasting / tour
General
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Dining area
  • Garden
  • In-room safe
  • Terrace
Services
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hair dryer
  • Laundry
  • Parking lot
  • Tour assistance

Cretans 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, flavors, and customs particular to various Cretan regions on our unique and authentic Cretan vegetarian food holiday.

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 your 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. 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 they use in the cooked food and salads is mainly olive oil.

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.

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 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.

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)
  • 1 breakfast
  • 1 dinner
  • 1 night accommodation
  • 2 lunches
  • Airport transfers
  • Hands-on cooking class
  • Excursions as per the itinerary
  • Food tasting, honey tasting, wine tasting
  • Vegetarian, vegan, Mediterranean cuisine
  • Entrance fees

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Heraklion International Airport (HER). Porto Club Travel Services will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

For information about the booking conditions, please send Porto Club Travel Services an inquiry.

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 USA

    "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.

Speaks English

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2 days / 1 night

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