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CRETAN FOOD, WINE AND HANDS ON COOKING VACATIONS


Holiday overview

This 6 night/7 day food and wine and cooking holiday is not only a uniquecooking experience, but a chance to completely immerse you in the cultureof Crete. Tour around the island, visit cultural sites and local producersand learn to cook authentic and delicious Cretan dishes Our Holidaysallow you to steep yourself in Cretan local history, taste and cook usingthe techniques of Cretan mothers, grand mothers, house ladies, absorbsome of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery that Crete has to offerand let the passion of the Cretan way of life take you to a whole newfood and wine haven.

Pricing:

$3.328 (For One Person, Double Occupancy based on 2people)
Single use: + $334

Included in the price

Please note that holidays are land part only and do not include flights.

§           Accommodation at the Thalori Traditional Complex in atwin/double room house for 6 nights

§           Return transfers to/from Heraklion airport
§           A welcome drink and snack on arrival at the airport
§           Cretan cookery lessons on day 2,3,4 and 5

§           A visit to archaeological sites of Gortys, Phaestos and Knossos(guiding/entrance fees are extra)

§           A visit to the women’s co-operative work shop of Marathos andwork with them

§           A visit to producers’ vineyard with picnic lunch
§           A visit to Argyroupolis natural springs and Matala caves and Zaros lake
§           A gastronomic walking tour of Heraklion
§           A visit to local bee-keeping honey producers and tasting of produce
§           A visit to local wineries and tasting of wine and raki
§           All transport to and from the excursions
§           All cooking materials and ingredients
§           Breakfast each morning
§           Lunch on days 2-6
§           Dinner accompanied by water, local wine and raki every night

§           Prices are based on two sharing a house, a single supplementapplies for those travelling solo

Note: Shared houses may be available subject to availability
About the host 
- Your Greek host and cook for the holiday is George


- George has been working in the travel industry for over 40 years but hasalways had a love and interest in food and the food industry


- George has had two experiences running his own restaurants and hascatered for Cretan weddings as well as running cookery holidays onthe island


- He began offering cooking holidays in response to guest’s request whilstworking in travel and has run the holidays for a number of years


George’s interest and expertise in vegetarian and vegan cuisine as wellcame in response to some guest’s comments that Cretan and Greek foodis heavily meat focussed


- He took it upon himself to prove to his guests that Crete and Greece isthe perfect destination for vegetarians and vegans, and over the yearshe has worked extensively with the Vegetarian and Vegan Society

- George is well rehearsed in vegetarian and vegan diets and hopes toshow visitors the richness of Cretan food that he believes can beaccessible and enjoyed by all, whatever your dietary requirements


- George’s style is friendly, informal, and relaxed and cooking is oftenaccompanied by a glass of wine or raki


- He thinks cooking should be a fun activity to be shared with friendsand there are no strict rules to his cooking


- He believes the freshness of the ingredients make the dishes anduses only local ingredients


- George is passionate about the island of Crete and so as well astaking you on a culinary journey to discover the island’s cuisine,it will also be a cultural one

Suitability

§           Cretan cookery holidays are suitable for all levels from completebeginners to experienced cooks

§           Minimum age 8 (under 13’s must be accompanied by an adult)

§           Your host is Greek but speaks excellent English so all cookingclasses are taught in English

Travelling Solo?

§           These cookery holidays make great singles holidays and singles arewelcome to join an existing group

§           Solo travelers will be allocated their own house in the complex and acompulsory single supplement applies

§           It may be possible to share a house with another guest or guests andavoid a supplement but this is dependent on availability, contact us tocheck availability for shared options

What Will I Learn?

-         Your week in Crete will be as much a hands on cooking experienceas a cultural one


Your host George will introduce you to the philosophy of local cookingand its traditions


- You will learn about the history of Cretan cuisine and how it wasinfluenced 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 ingredientsyou can find back home

- How very few ingredients can be the basis for 6 or 7 dishes?

- How to prepared traditional Cretan dishes adapted to anyone’srequirements but never compromising on flavor

- The cooking techniques and methods used to create the dishes

Sample Menus

Dishes vary according to the season and what food is available butmay include:

- Various Moussakas
- Stuffed peppers, tomatoes, courgettes and Aubergines (Papoutsakia)
- Dolmadakia – vine leaf wraps stuffed with sorrel, pumpkin flowers
- Ladera
- Casseroles
- Saganaki cheese (fried cheese), shrimps, feta cheese in oven,
 
- Kakavia (fishermen fish soup)
- Soups
- Sweet and savory pastries

- Please note that dietary requirements (including allergies) must bewritten at the time of booking including what type of diet you follow



Holiday itinerary

Kapetaniana is a small village perched at an altitude of 800 meters on theAsteroussia range. This little known haven of tranquillity lies west of Kophinaspeak, commanding magnificent views over the Libyan sea and surroundedby mountain wilderness. Kapetaniana is the glorious setting where you willcombine your Cretan cooking holiday with an outstanding traditionalCretan cultural experience. 

This is why this Cretan cooking holiday is one of a kind.  Your cookeryhosts offers an all-encompassing cultural cookery experience. In themornings you will sit down to a lavish breakfast before heading off tovisit sites of cultural interest specifically chosen so that you can immerseyourself in local Cretan history and tradition. 

The area is steeped in history and intrigue and you will visit many interestingplaces, including the Basilica of St. Titus, the valley of Messaras, the city ofRethymnon and the waters of Argyroupolis, and visit local wineries with achance to try your hand at making raki.

Your host and cook, George, believes it is important for you to fullyexperience the Cretan passion for food and each day he will take youaround the island and show you the local traditions, historical andarchaeological sites of interest and then you will share lunch with thelocals before returning for your hands on, custom made cookery class.
Under the careful guidance and tutelage of  George, you will be taughtthe traditional Cretan way of creating and transforming simple dishesinto something wonderful to be shared with friends and loved ones.


You will learn to cook in an informal and sociable environment, withlessons custom built around your tastes and preferences.The focus is on learning to be creative with traditional and localingredients taken fresh every day from the fields and markets.This really is the best of both worlds.  A really unique experience,combining local visits in a beautiful tranquil setting with learningthe skills and passion of Cretan cuisine, this unique 6 night/7 dayCretan cooking holiday is truly a magical experience.


Cretan food, wine and Cooking Holiday Start Days

- All arrivals are on Sundays on set dates
- Arrival will depend on your flight but times can be flexible

- It may be possible to arrange Cretan cookery holidays on other date for groups of 4 or more, to check availability, contact us with your preferred date 

Cretan cooking holidays are for 6 nights/7 days

- If dates appear ‘on request’ please contact us and we’ll check availabilityfor your preferred day of arrival as quickly as possible


Cretan food, wine and Cooking Holiday Itinerary

The itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change dependingon the group’s needs and wishes but is typically as follows:


Day 1- Sunday - Arrival and traditional Cretan welcome dinner 

- After arriving at Heraklion airport, you will be met by your driver andEnglish speaking Cretan host George


- If you’re arriving in the morning you’ll head somewhere for lunch beforebeing driven to the Thalori Resort via transfer


- For guests arriving after lunch, George will meet you at the airport andoffer you a coffee, snack and water for the 70 minute transfer to theThalori Traditional Resort


- Check into your house, relax and explore your surroundings beforejoining your fellow guests for a welcome dinner made up of a variety of localCretan foods – your first taster of the flavours of Crete



Day 2 – Monday – Explore south-central Crete, visit to archaeologicalsites of Gortys, and Phaestos, Kokkinos Pyrgos villageand first cooking lesson

- Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading out to explore the south-centralpart of the island with your host George


- Today you’ll visit Gortys, the ruined capital city of the Roman provincewhich included the island of Crete



- You’ll see the impressive amphitheatre and the Basilica of St Titus beforedriving west to the archaeological site of Phaestos – the second mostsignificant site of the Minoan civilisation


- Phaestos is an ancient palace and you’ll also see the site of the ancientcity is was located in offering a detailed insight into ancient life


- Stop off in the fishing village of Kokkinos Pyrgos for lunch and enjoy localspecialities – or freshly caught seafood for the pescatarians



- After lunch you’ll head back to the Thalori complex and head to the kitchenfor your first cooking class


-This evening’s hands-on class focuses on fish and sea food and Georgewill teach you preparation techniques that transform basic ingredients intothe 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 tocook accompanied by local wine



Day 3 – Tuesday – Arkadi monastery, city of Rethymnon,Argyroupolis natural springs


- After breakfast at the Thalori houses where you will be staying, take adrive through the vineyards and small villages of the Rethymnon region


- Visit the 16th century monastery of Arkadi, and Margarites – a smallvillage famous for producing ceramics


- Next  you’ll visit the city a Rethymnon a city seeped in history and anattractive place to wander through its narrow streets and marvel atVenetian and Turkish architecture that house its restaurants, cafesand shops


- After browsing the shops and a coffee break where you can minglewith the locals, you’ll drive to the natural springs of Argyroupolis a siteboasting attractive cascades and an idyllic setting for lunch where you’ll

enjoy Cretan grilled meats, vegetable and cheese specialities

- After lunch you’ll return to the Thalori houses and prepare for your secondcooking class with George this time focusing on stuffed peppers,courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes as well as Dolmadakia – stuffedwraps with vine leaves, sorrel and pumpkin flowers.


- After the class you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour with the groupalong with some raki and local wine


Day 4 – Wednesday – Matala caves, wine tasting, producers visitat vineyard and casserole cooking class




- After breakfast you’ll be driven to the caves of Matala and its beach whichis known to be the best in the region where you’ll learn about the ancienthistory of the caves and the more modern history and how it wasmentioned in songs by Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell amongst others


Spend some time at Matala and leave the place driving north for apleasant experience visiting a small family run winery producing specialsmall quantity good quality organic wines. The winemakers know theirproduct and share their knowledge. An exceptional experience a 'producervisit' visiting one of George's friends-cousin's farms for lunch. Picked allthe produce lettuce.


Cucumber, tomatoes and thee meat sourced locally, chicken, lamb andof course goat served on plastic tables, chairs and paper table cloth.Great atmosphere and ambience. The simplicity of the setting will be partof the enjoyment and the various meats cooked accompanied byhomemade wine. Late afternoon drive back to begin this evening’scookery class



-Tonight’s cooking class is based around the mageirefta or ladera andyou’ll use several types of wild greens, green beans, broad beans and otheringredients to create a  delicious dish to enjoy with the other guestsof local wine and raki



Day 5 – Thursday – Zaros lake, beehives visit and art of pastrymaking at the women’s co-operative work shop of Marathosand final cooking class


-Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation before driving north anddiscovering the beautiful lake of Zaros


- Here you can admire the scenery and stop for coffee beforeheading to Marathos to visit the women’s co-operative work shopat the village of Marathos where the residents make unique andincredibly artistic pastry breads called Xompliasto


- You will see how the pastry is made and the delicate work needed tocreate such stunning breads and spend an hour working together andlearn their technique



Ending the visit, you’ll visit a bee keeper and learn about traditionalmethods of bee-keeping employed here to make organic, additive freelocal honey


- The owners are two brothers who have been bee-keepers their wholelives, inheriting the business from their father


- You’ll take a short hike to reach the location of where the bees are keptbefore strolling to the local cafe which is run by the owners



- At the cafe, you will have the opportunity to take honeycombs straight from the beehive, learn about the bees and beekeeping as well as havinglunch and enjoying the local pancakes known as tiganites served withhoney and cheese pies along with raki and local wine


- 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 ancientpalace and must-see archaeological site of Crete


- After visiting the 3500 year old site of Knossos, you’ll head to Heraklionand take a walk through the city taking a gastronomic tour of all the bestlocal food places and vendors



- You’ll visit the best pastry shop in the city and sample filo pastries insyrups, with cheeses before heading to a coffee shop and tasting coffeeroasted the traditional way in hot sand


- Next you’ll explore the central market and stop for an ouzo with mezeat 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 headingtowards the seaside


- A light lunch will be served accompanied by chilled white wine beforeending 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 relaxbefore  a farewell dinner which tonight is your day off from cooking anda chance to enjoy a meal cooked by the chefs at the complex


- Dinner is a chance to sample yet more local dishes and compare themto 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 day

- 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 aninsight into Cretan life, new friendships and unique culinary and culturalmemories that will stay with them long after the holiday is over


Meals
- All breakfasts are included and taken in the complex restaurant

- Breakfast consists of bread, honey, local marmalades and spoon sweets,eggs, local pancakes, cheeses, yoghurts, fresh fruits, and fresh juices

- Lunch is always taken out on excursions at local villages and restaurants

- Dinner is the food that you’ve learnt to cook and the first on Sunday andlast dinner on Friday is prepared for you by chefs at your accommodation

- All meals are suitable and for vegetarians and can be adapted to vegans
- Dietary requests must be communicated to us at the time of booking

Free Time In Crete


- This Cretan food, wine and cookery holiday is packed with cultural trips,culinary delights, and cooking lessons but if you want to explore the areathere is plenty to do


- From the Thalori houses you can take a mountain path to trek to someof Crete’s most beautiful beaches


- There are numerous cultural and archaeological sites nearby, as well aschapels and monasteries which are decorated with distinct murals


- Ravines and caves are scattered through the mountainous areasurrounding the complex which can be explored


- Several sandy beaches frame the Heraklion County’s coast which areoften deserted

This is a food, wine and cookery holiday that is about so much morethan simply learning to cook. It is a holiday that will awaken your senses,enliven your passion, invigorate your intellect and teach you how to cookmeals from the heart.


About the location

With spectacular views over the Libyan sea, Kapetaniana is a cosy villageand the perfect location for your Cretan food, wine and cookeryholiday experience.


This character location, in the heart of Asteroussia, has at its centre anancient 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 feelingof living from the land and letting you indulge in the beauty that natureprovides.


The Asteroussia area is a favourite destination for anyone seeking thetranquillity of the mountains or breathtakingly beautiful walks along thesecret beaches of southern Crete.
You will stay in the Thalori resort which has been designed and furnishedto offer memorable experiences. The Thalori is a complex of traditionalstone built houses which have been beautifully restored to reflect theancient traditions of the area. The houses are constructed from stoneand rock, with traditional fireplaces and embroidered carpets that createa gloriously warm atmosphere. The houses are equally functional and relaxing.
There are 14 houses in total and these are allocated so that each personor group stay within their own house and share a bathroom.There is also a stunning swimming pool boasting beautiful viewsover the area.

All meals and cookery classes are taken as a group hosted by cooks Georgewho is also your host for your tours around the island.
It’s easy to see why host George is so successful in teaching cookery courses.He has a warm and friendly disposition, full of character with a great senseof humour. He has worked internationally in the hospitality industry for morethan forty years and has managed his own restaurants but he loves nothingmore than communicating his passion for the Cretan food and traditions.And for more than ten years now, he has been teaching others how deliciousand healthy traditional Cretan cooking is.


George is a member of the Vegetarian Society International and is committedto raising awareness of the diversity and variety of traditional Cretan foodin vegetarian cooking and that it is not just a cuisine for meat eaters.


The Accommodation

The accommodation is set in the village of Kapetaniana, in the Heraklionregion of the island of Crete


- Kapetaniana is a small village perched some 800m above sea level, withmagnificent views of the Libyan Sea

- You’ll stay in the Thalori Resort which is made up of a cluster of 14 traditional
houses and boasts a central restaurant, kitchen and recreational area

- Each house has been built with an emphasis on traditional, locallysourced resources


- Local rocks and stones make up the walls of the properties, local marbleand wood for the interior and traditional fireplaces and embroidered carpetsmake for a warm and welcoming stay


- All houses are equipped with central heating, fireplace, fully equipped kitchen,mini stereo system, Satellite TV with 20” LCD screen, Chess table,board games, orthopaedic mattresses, and complimentary bathroom products

- Houses vary in size and accommodate from 1-5 people
- There are 4 double bedroom houses, 5 triple room houses,
1 four bedroom property and 4 five bedroom houses
- Bathrooms are shared within each house

- If you are travelling solo, stay in a double room house for sole occupancyfor a small supplement or you may be able to share a house with otherguests but this is subject to availability (to check availability please contact us


- Houses are allocated according to availability, where possible your groupwill be offered their own house


- The thick stone wall and central heating make the houses a comfortabletemperature year round


- There is a swimming pool with beautiful views over the area at theaccommodation


- The restaurant is built in a similar style to the houses and set overtwo floors


- There is also a professional kitchen and separate meeting room withterrace within the restaurant building


- Your cookery lessons will take place either in the complex’s kitchen,side meeting room with terrace, or in the restaurant itself


- The imposing windows of the restaurant offer panoramic views tothe Libyan Sea

- Accommodation is included for 6 nights / 7 days

- Check in anytime after 2pm on day 1 and check out by 10.30am onday 7 (subject to flight times)

Features
- Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty 68km from Heraklion
- The beach is about 7km away so within walking distance

- A restaurant with a unique atmosphere where you can share andenjoy the best of Cretan cuisine

- Beautifully restored accommodation with all amenities gearedtowards your comfort and enjoyment, including LCD and satellite TV,orthopaedic mattresses and central heating

- Swimming pool with stunning views

- Inspiring tours around the island to sample and learn about theCretan way of life


- The wilderness of the mountains and spectacular views and inletsto the secret beaches of Southern Crete

- Expert hands-on tuition and a warm, casual and relaxed learningenvironment

- An opportunity to travel to interesting places out of tourist zones andsee local people at work

- Learning at your own pace using the techniques of traditional CretanMediterranean cuisine following the old methods

- Learning how to transform your vegetarian dishes and being creativeto make authentic and delicious dishes you will want to share withfamily and friends