7 Days Culture, Vegan Culinary Holiday in Crete, Greece

7 Days Culture, Vegan Culinary Holiday in Crete, Greece

  • Thalori Resort, Kapetaniana, Καπετανιανά, Kapetaniana 700 16, Greece

Cooking Vacations in Greece

This is a chance to completely immerse yourself in the culture of Crete. Tour around the island, visit cultural sites and local producers and learn to cook authentic and delicious vegetarian Cretan dishes. Our authentic culinary holidays allow you to steep yourself in Cretan local history, taste and cook using the techniques of traditional Cretan cuisine, absorb some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery that Greece has to offer and let the passion of the Cretan way of life take you to a whole new cookery haven.

Highlights

  • 4 vegetarian cooking classes
  • Food and wine tasting, honey tasting
  • Vegetarian, vegan, mediterranean cuisine
  • Excursions to Gortys, Rethymnon, Matala, Zaros, Heraklion
  • Palace trips, city tours, village trips, caves visit, lake visit
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • 5 days with instruction
  • English
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Kouriton House Historic Manor

The House of Kourites is an authentic stone built lodging, dating back to 1750 a.d. 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.

The House offers accommodation facilities for 23 persons and can be used as center for a variety of fieldwork activities on culture, agrotourism and education. Each room of the house has its own personality. In the goriund floor there is the oven-house, Dimitra, which includes an entrance-living room with long abbey-type table, ceramic earthenware jars, an apartment with two beds and a fireplace, a show-room with ceramic artifacts, and a double room with a traditional-textiles textiles showroom .

There is also a room with two stone beds. In the first floor, there are four traditional rooms with antique beds and furniture. Each of these rooms is for three or four persons. Each room has a name of a Kouritis. Kouritis were the inventors of the agriculture and curators with herbs and dance. Each room has tv, refrigerator and couch.

There is a Cretan traditional lounge, in which you can taste homemade cake and traditional sweets or herb decoctions. In the library, you can find books related to the cretan tradition. In the external areas there is an amphitheatrical area for several events, and there is also a botanological garden with several plants in big ceramic jars.

Rooms

Thalori traditional resort

Thalori guesthouses are an integral part of the residential complex of Kapetaniana. These traditional houses are renovated with respect to their Cretan architecture, maintaining the fortress and monasterial elements associated with the history of the settlement. At the same time, special care was given to the preservation of the distinct identity of each house and guest room.

Stone and wood remain the dominant materials of the guesthouses whilst the natural rock is integrated harmoniously even in their indoor areas. The wooden loft, the stone arches, the utilitarian recesses in the walls, and the stone-built fireplaces are still some elements of the traditional Cretan architecture which you will find here. This authentic Cretan atmosphere is complemented by the woven and embroidered carpets and fabrics, the handmade curtains and the traditional decorative objects.

At the same time, Thaloris guesthouses are endowed with modern amenities such as flat screen TV, sound system, kitchen, personal care items in the bathroom. Thalori offers double, triple, quadruple and quintuple guesthouses ideal for couples, groups of friends and of course, families.

Day 1: Sunday -Arrival and traditional Cretan welcome dinner

  • After arriving at Heraklion airport, you will be met by your driver and English speaking Cretan host George.
  • If you're arriving in the morning you'll head somewhere for lunch before being driven to the Thalori Resort.
  • For guests arriving after lunch, George will meet you at the airport and offer you a coffee, snack, and water for the 70 minute transfer to the lodge.
  • Check into your house, relax, and explore your surroundings before joining your fellow guests for a welcome dinner made up of a variety of local Cretan foods, your first taster of the flavours of Crete.

Day 2: Monday - Explore south-central Crete, visit to archaeological sites of Gortys, and Phaestos, Kokkinos Pyrgos village and first cooking lesson

  • Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading out to explore the south-central part of the island with your host George.
  • Today you'll visit Gortys, the ruined capital city of the Roman province which included the island of Crete.
  • You'll see the impressive amphitheatre and the Basilica of St. Titus before driving west to the archaeological site of Phaestos, the second most significant site of the Minoan civilisation
  • Phaestos is an ancient palace and youll also see the site of the ancient city is was located in offering a detailed insight into ancient life.
  • Stop off in the fishing village of Kokkinos Pyrgos for lunch and enjoy local specialities or freshly caught seafood for the pescatarians.
  • After lunch, you'll head back to the Thalori complex and head to the kitchen for your first cooking class. This evening's hands-on class focuses on vegetables and George will teach you preparation techniques that transform basic ingredients into the stars of the table, full of richness colour and flavour.
  • After the class, sit down as a group and enjoy the meal you've learned to cook accompanied by local wine.

Day 3: Tuesday - Arkadi monastery, city of Rethymnon, Argyroupolis natural springs, second cooking class

  • After breakfast at the Thalori houses where you will be staying, take a drive through the vineyards and small villages of the Heraklion region.
  • Visit the 16th century monastery of Arkadi, and Margarites, a small village famous for producing ceramics.
  • Next you'll visit the city a Rethymnon a city seeped in history and an attractive place to wander through its narrow streets and marvel at Venetian and Turkish architecture that house its restaurants, cafés and shops.
  • After browsing the shops and a coffee break where you can mingle with the locals, you'll drive to the natural springs of Argyroupolis, a site boasting attractive cascades and an idyllic setting for lunch where you'll enjoy Cretan vegetable and cheese specialities.
  • After lunch you'll return to the Thalori houses and prepare for your second cooking class with George this time focusing on stuffed peppers, courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes as well as Dolmadakia: stuffed wraps with vine leaves, sorrel and pumpkin flowers.
  • After the class, you'll enjoy the fruits of your labour with the group along with some raki and local wine.

Day 4: Wednesday - Matala caves, Odigitrias monastery, seaside lunch and casserole cooking class

  • After breakfast, you'll be driven to the monastery of Odigitrias, where you can admire its stunning frescoes and learn about its history.
  • Next, head to the caves of Matala and its beach which is known to be the best in the region where youll learn about the ancient history of the caves and the more modern history and how it was mentioned in songs by Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell amongst others.
  • You'll stay in Matala for lunch and enjoy a seaside meal before heading back to begin this evenings cookery class.
  • Tonight's cooking class is based around the mageirefta or ladera and you'll use several types of wild greens, green beans, broad beans, and other ingredients to create a delicious dish to enjoy with the other guests of local wine and raki.

Day 5: Thursday - Zaros lake, wineries, beehives visit and art of pastry making at the women's cooperative workshop of Marathos and final cooking class

  • Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation before driving north and discovering the beautiful lake of Zaros.
  • Here you can admire the scenery and stop for coffee before heading to Dafnes, a small village near Heraklion and the location of several small, well-known family wineries.
  • Depending on the season, you may have the chance to see first hand the making of Cretan raki
  • You'll also enjoy a raki tasting along with wine tasting of several unique wines before eating some local dishes for lunch.
  • After lunch, you'll visit a beekeeper and learn about traditional methods of beekeeping employed here to make organic, additive free local honey.
  • The owners are two brothers who have been beekeepers their whole lives, inheriting the business from their father. You'll take a short hike to reach the location of where the bees are kept before strolling to the local cafe which is run by the owners. At the café, you will have the opportunity to take honeycombs straight from the beehive, learn about the bees and beekeeping, as well as enjoying the local pancakes, known as tiganites, served with honey and cheese pies along with raki and local wine.
  • Next, you will visit the womens co-operative near the village of Marathos where the residents make unique and incredibly artistic pastry breads called Xompliasto. You will see how the pastry is made and the delicate work needed to create such stunning breads.
  • On arrival back at the resort, you will begin your final cooking class which features special traditional pies which are roasted and fried in the pan.
  • You'll enjoy dinner accompanied by wine and raki with your fellow guests.

Day 6: Friday - Knossos, walking tour of Heraklion and farewell dinner

  • After breakfast, today's excursion takes you to Knossos, an ancient palace and must-see archaeological site of Crete.
  • After visiting the 3500 year old site of Knossos, you'll head to Heraklion and take a walk through the city taking a gastronomic tour of all the best local food places and vendors.
  • You'll visit the best pastry shop in the city and sample filo pastries in syrups, with cheeses before heading to a coffee shop and tasting coffee roasted the traditional way in hot sand.
  • Next you'll explore the central market and stop for an ouzo with meze at one of the traditional mezedopolion (restaurants).
  • You'll also have the opportunity to see the cathedral of Saint Minas, the Morozini fountain, Venetian church turned art gallery before heading towards the seaside.
  • A light lunch will be served accompanied by chilled white wine before ending your gastronomic walking tour to taste the famous loukoumades, Cretan style doughnuts sprinkled with honey and sesame.
  • After the walking tour, you'll head back to the Thalori resort to relax before a farewell dinner which tonight is your day off from cooking and a chance to enjoy a meal cooked by the chefs at the complex.
  • Dinner is a chance to sample yet more local dishes and compare them to the dishes you've learnt during the week and discuss the sites, tastes and sounds of your holiday with new friends over wine and raki.

Day 7: Saturday - Departure

  • After a leisurely breakfast guests are asked to check-out of their rooms and be ready to be taken back to the airport taking home with them an insight into Cretan life, new friendships and unique culinary and cultural memories that will stay with them long after the holiday is over.

The Asteroussia area is a favourite destination for anyone seeking the tranquillity of the mountains or breathtakingly beautiful walks along the secret beaches of southern Crete. With spectacular views over the Libyan sea, Kapetaniana is a cozy village and the perfect location for your Greek vegetarian cookery holiday experience.

This characterful location, in the heart of Asteroussia, has at its centre an ancient building that has long been associated with myth and legend. It is now the unique and atmospheric location of your cookery school.

You will cook and dine on traditional dishes chosen specifically from fresh, local ingredients that are in abundance around you, giving you that feeling of living from the land and letting you indulge in the beauty that nature provides.

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.

For vegetarian and vegan

Simple, basic, without over spicing and without a distortion of taste, and quite delicious. A Cretan housewife never counts out of weighs ingredients. If you ask her how much flour is needed to make a certain dish, she will reply "as much as needed". Cretan cooking has its roots way back in Ancient Minoan times. We know that Minoans used olive oil just as Cretans do today.

We know that they stored their cereals and they enriched their meals with the pure wine just as Cretans do today. Olive oil, fresh vegetables, wild greens and fruits are the elements of the Cretan Mediterranean diet with a beneficial action which Cretans are in the habit of purchasing and consuming fresh. The freshness of these products guarantees the quality of the foods and viability of the vitamins and physiochemical substances they contain.

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.

  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Arrival, greeting and traditional Cretan dinner
  • Cooking class featuring stuffed vegetables, vine leaves and olive oils
  • Cretan heritage and veggie patties cooking class
  • Farewell dinner
  • Honey bees, art pastry and afternoon with locals
  • Knossos, wine tasting, walking and tasting Heraklion
  • Local legumes and casseroles cooking class
  • Region of Rethymnon culinary tour
  • South central Crete: culture, food and history
  • The green pies cooking class
  • The waters of Argyroupolis and the city of Rethymnon visits
  • Additional activities
  • Anything not mentioned in the Itinerary
  • Entrance fees at archaeological and historical sites
  • Guiding
  • Tips

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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7 days / 6 nights

Availability

Arrival: Sunday November 26, 2017
Departure: Saturday December 2, 2017

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