8 Days Easter Culinary Vacations Greece

Traditional Culinary Vacation Greece

Easter (Pascha in Greek) is a major family festival in Greece and a significant celebration in the Greek Orthodox Church. It is celebrated in every corner of Zakynthos.

Encompassing traditional customs, our Easter programme includes cultural and gastronomic experiences throughout Holy Week, leading up to Easter. There will be hands-on cooking of Zakynthian delicacies, olive oil and wine tastings, trips to the countryside and seaside, plus traditional evenings out. Activities include dyeing hard boiled Easter eggs and making Easter decorations you will be proud to take home.You will attend the Resurrection parade, the midnight church ceremony on Holy Saturday, enjoy a traditional Mageiritsa dinner and eat spit-roast lamb on Easter Sunday.The week is full, but allows plenty of time to relax/take siestas. This will be more than a holiday; it will be a memory to cherish, particularly impressive for first-time visitors to the island.

Highlights

  • Virgin olive oil and wine tasting
  • Local easter feast preparations,
  • Visit a picturesque Monastery and the Grampsas winery,
  • Go on a tour to Bohali & enjoy serenated dining
  • Attend the midnight service & feasting Taste lamb on the spit,
  • Learn how to make Baklava & explore Zakynthos town
  • Boat trip to the Shipwreck Beach, the Blue Caves
  • 7 nights accommodation

Styles


7 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 10
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Accommodation

During this holiday, you will be staying at Villa Spiros. The accommodation will be in a private ensuite room basis. Villa Spiros features a mixture of three self-catering ground floor rooms and four first floor maisonettes furnished to a high standard in a clean modern style, incorporating everything the discerning holidaymaker or independent traveler will need for a relaxing and comfortable stay. Villa Spiros enjoys ideal, peaceful, and relaxing surroundings. You will find lovely vines and well-kept flower beds.

All the rooms are equipped with AC, central heating, carpets, flannel sheets, electric blankets, feather duck quilts, a fully equipped kitchen, and an en-suite shower room. Distinguished by the lure of its exceptional family run hospitality and extensive range of services, Villa Spiros excels with its warmth, hospitable ambiance, relaxing surroundings, and friendly hosts who will point you to the very best this wonderful island has to offer.

Studios

Located on the ground floor, all studios are spacious and comfortably furnished. Each studio has a large veranda with a table and chairs for enjoyable and relaxing moments. There are rooms with double beds or single beds and are suitable for one to four people sharing.

The rooms also have a large, wooden wardrobe with fitted security locks, a matching dressing table with a big mirror, a television, and a fully equipped kitchenette with a dining area, a fridge, a kettle and toaster, a shower room, air conditioning, a ceiling fan, central heating, and views to the vineyard.

Apartments

The apartment comprises of two levels, separated by a wooden staircase. On the ground floor, there is a kitchen, shower room/WC, wardrobe, three single beds and a balcony. On the upper level, there is the master bedroom with a double bed, wardrobe, and shower room/WC.

Program

You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your accommodation, then given time to settle into your new surroundings. You will be invited on a shopping trip to the nearby supermarket to stock up on holiday necessities.

Later, we will hold a welcome meeting and buffet in the reception area and. Effie & Antonio, Denia and Adriana, your hosts, will be delighted to tell you about the traditions of Holy Week, outline the proposed itinerary and answer any questions.

Holy Friday Easter feast preparations, candlelit Easter procession

Today, enjoy the traditions and special aromas of preparations for our Easter feast. Mid-morning we start making Tsoureki, a sweet Easter brioche type of bread. You will see the special flour and spices used (one spice produced only on the island of Chios). We’ll be grating the zest of oranges taken from the tree that morning. After an hour or so, the dough will be wrapped & left to prove until late afternoon, when we roll the dough & make plaited loaves, to be sprinkled with almonds and baked after a second proving.

By 7pm we will take you to the village of Macherado, for dinner with local wine at Denis’ traditional taverna. By the time we have eaten, worshippers will have started to arrive at St Mavra’s Church, opposite the taverna, for the Good Friday service. We will join them, noticing that they kiss the icons as they arrive (do the same if you wish). The focal point is a wooden reproduction of Christ in the tomb. Ornately carved and richly painted, the village women cover it with flowers for today. Traditionally, people return to their home village for this service, so the Church is full. The service takes about 2 hours, with the congregation just listening to the Church singers, sometimes standing, often going outside for a break and returning. In the last half hour the priest wafts incense over the tomb, sprinkles it with holy water and flower petals from baskets held by village maidens in traditional costume. He then moves through the large congregation wafting and sprinkling us, before we follow the decorated tomb out through the Church doors. Then led by a uniformed band, the icon is carried through the village streets, the congregation following with lighted tapers, on a circular route back to the Church. A little more music and this unforgettable evening is drawn to a close.

Holy Saturday Cook, get creative, midnight service & feasting

Holy Saturday, with the Resurrection celebrated in the midnight service, is the most important day in the Greek calendar, and an amazing communal experience.

Mid-morning, meet at reception to decorate hessian wrapped candles using flowers from the garden, ribbons and twine. These are for us to carry at tonight’s celebration. After lunch, we help Effie in her kitchen as she starts making desserts for Sunday and we dye some eggs the traditional dark red, to use in egg battles tonight.

Late evening, we go into Zakynthos town, which by 11pm is filling up with people. From reserved balcony seats we have a great view of the thousands who have gathered, all holding candles to be lit at midnight. Now comes the silver the band, leading a procession making its way to the podium dignitaries and priests, carrying icons and their own elaborately decorated candles. There is chanting and singing then a surge of sound as midnight passes and it’s Easter Day. All candles are lit (quite a sight to look down on) as the crowd wish each other Happy Easter.

Then we make our way through the streets to the Vylthoukas’ family home, to share the first meat meal after Lent. There will be the traditional Mageiritsa (lightly cooked lamb offal, with rice and an egg and lemon sauce), and as an alternative, “Stifado” (beef in tomato sauce). Dessert and wine of course! We won’t be home before 2am but the sights, sounds and tastes are unforgettable.

Easter Sunday Lamb on the spit, evening sea side drinks

Easter Sunday is a day of joy and celebration, getting together with family and friends for eating, drinking, music and dancing. We make an early start preparing our Easter Sunday feast, by putting the lamb on the spit to roast slowly, preparing delicious Easter appetizers and decorating the table. This day is also called Lambri (Brightness), celebrating the day of the resurrection of Christ. After our Greek Easter meal, you are welcome to join us to go to the picturesque port of Agios Sostis. There is a ceramic studio, small tavernas, coffee shops and a sea side cocktail bar, where you can enjoy a coffee or your favourite tipple to relax you while the sun goes down on another spectacular day.

Easter Monday Monastery, winery, Bohali & taverna singing

After breakfast, we set off for a monastery (strictly a convent, housing 13nuns) just outside Macherado village. It was built by a local priest, who decorated it by hand with mosaic icons inside and out. The ceilings and interior walls also display huge murals painted by the nuns.

Then a short drive takes us to a vineyard and winery run by the third generation of the Grampsas family. It is beautifully presented, from the neat rows of vines to the display of winemaking equipment from bygone days. Son Tassos will talk you through the whole wine making process before inviting you to sit on the shady terrace to sample white and red wines with local cheese.

That evening, we’ll take a stroll through Bohali, at the top of Zakynthos town. The view from this exclusive residential area is breathtaking, over the whole town and harbour and out to sea. Then we’ll have dinner in a harbourside taverna. Traditional Greek dished are served by the owner and his sons, who later in the evening sing Greek folksongs, accompanying themselves on the guitar and mandolin. You will feel you have discovered real Greek life.

Tuesday Baking Baklava & a walk round Zakynthos town

Mid-morning, go with Effie to her favourite confectioner’s shop in Zakynthos town. The fourth generation confectioner and shop owner will put on his apron to show you step by step how to make classic Baklava (almonds, walnuts and spices folded into buttery filo pastry).

Effie will then take you on a gentle walk round her home town. First stop is at the Church of the island’s patron saint, St Dionysius. The huge inside is richly decorated with gold and icons. The saint’s remains are here in a silver casket, which on some occasions is open for viewing. Then walk along the harbor and sample a local custard-type pastry from a street stall before walking through Solomos Square and hearing about the poet. Effie then takes you to St Mark’s Square to sit and watch the world go by outside her favourite coffee shop. Batteries recharged, you are ready to hit the shops before a final stop for lunch at a traditional taverna. There’s a wide choice of food, but this is a good chance to try the famous souvlaki or gyros.

Wednesday Olive oil tasting, Shipwreck Beach & a seaside tavern

Spend the day at leisure as at noon, we set off for the north. First stop is at an olive oil factory. See the display of machinery from the old days before touring the modern factory with your guide. At the end is a chance to taste a variety of oils on village bread. Then it’s on to Ag, Nikolaios to take an amazing boat trip past caves and rock formations to the famous Shipwreck Bay for a swim.

Returning to port, we drive on to a welcoming traditional taverna with a

World-class view over white rocks to the bluest of blue seas. The food here is

produced on the owners’ farm and is a favourite with the locals.

Thursday Departure Day

Maybe a last stroll to town or the beach. Your driver will take you to the airport in good time. Kallo Taxidi (safe journey)!

Included excursions

  • Driving tour to the north of the island with gastronomic stops
  • Shipwreck & Blue caves swimming experience
  • Visit to Lithakia village olive oil factory museum and olive oil tasting
  • Visit to the historical Zakynthos Town
  • Zakynthian wine tasting

Location

This holiday will be held at the Villa Spiros in Lagana, Greece. Ideally located only 300 meters away from Lagana Beach, the most important nesting grounds for the sea turtle Caretta-Caretta, enjoys peaceful and relaxing surroundings, surrounded by lovely vines and well-kept flower beds. A five-minute stroll will take you to Lagana Main Street with its parade of shops, restaurants, bars, and medical center.

Countless excursions and sights in close vicinity complement the villa's location perfectly. Although most small businesses are closed in the winter months, kiosks, supermarkets, taverns, and medical centers are still open daily. Just a short drive or bus ride will take you to the main Zakynthos town where everything is open and available.

Distinguished by the lure of its exceptional family run hospitality and extensive range of services, Villa Spiros excels with its warmth, hospitable ambiance, relaxing surroundings, and friendly hosts who will point you to the very best this wonderful island has to offer.

Nearby places

  • Lagana Beach, 300 meters

Food

During this holiday, you will enjoy a daily delicious and locally sourced continental breakfast and one more meal per day. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a welcome buffet on Thursday, a delicious group dinner in the town on Friday, a traditional "Mageiritsa" meal or “Kokkinisto” and other appetizers on Saturday, and of course the delicious Easter Sunday feast.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Tour of Koiliomenos, Iperagathos Monastery, and Kabi

This tour is a day dedicated to explore the beautiful countryside with a visit to the Monastery of Iperagathos. You will continue north to arrive at Kabi, a small village, renowned for its beautiful sunset, and then you will enjoy a nice walk to the Mycenaean cemetery.

Visit Dafni Beach

The region of Vasilikos is popular for its blue flag sandy beaches as well as for the hundreds of turtle nests scattered all along the golden sands protected by little cages. You will visit the turtle museum and Dafni Beach to swim or simply unwind in this spectacular natural paradise.

Visit Kallipado, Tragaki, and Kipseli

Kallipado, Tragaki, and Kipseli are three lovely picturesque villages set to the west side of the island, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. You may visit Callinikos winery to taste some great varieties of local wine and the impressive Abeloravdi mansion.

Visit Louha, Giri, and Agia Marina

This three picturesque villages retain their traditional characteristics located in the heart of the north part of the island with fertile green slopes and unspoilt natural beauty.

Visit Vasilikos Royal

Spend a beautiful day there exploring the surrounding area, walking along Gerakas sandy beach, and visiting a ceramic studio. Pikridiotisa church is a small chapel built on the ruins of a much older church built in the 16th century.

Visit Volimes, Xigia, and Katastari

This is a fascinating trip to the very far northern part of Zakynthos to explore the mountain village treasures of Volimes village. You will visit Anafonitria monastery, Agios Gerasimos church, the local market with the local products and handmade textiles, the traditional weaving studio, the Askos animal farm, and the old windmill.

What's included

  • 2 festive dinners
  • 2 meals at local taverns
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Backlava making activity
  • Daily continental breakfast
  • Driving tour to the north of the island with gastronomic stops
  • Shipwreck & Blue caves swimming experience
  • Olive oil and wine tasting
  • Tour to Keri village
  • Traditional Easter cooking workshop
  • Transfers from and to Zakynthos International Airport (ZTH)
  • Visit to Lithakia village olive oil factory museum
  • Visit to the historical town of Zakynthos
  • Welcome buffet

What's not included

  • Additional activities
  • Additional transportation
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Zakynthos International Airport (ZTH). Transfer from and to the airport is included. The organizer will pick you up from the airport.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Thursday May 2, 2019
(8 days / 7 nights)

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