Cooking and Traditions of Crete - NEW
From its gorgeous beaches and breathtaking mountains to its bustling cities and fairytale-like villages, Crete is a magical place. The natural beauty of the Greek island is only rivaled by that of its history, as the island is the birthplace of the Minoans, and even today vestiges of the island's past populate Crete. Pair the island's beauty with the gastronomy of the island — which has been named some of the healthiest in the world, as the diet is rich in fruits and vegetables — and Crete has the makings of a foodie heaven.
In this heaven on earth, escape to Lasithi Plateau, one of the largest plateaux in all of Greece and located in a rural part of the island. Don't be surprised to hear the sound of goat bells, while enjoying the stunning views of cloudy mountain peaks and fertile fields populated with orchards and old wind mills.
Your accommodations for the week are the stone-built Argoulias apartments, situated in one of the area's oldest neighborhoods in the mountainous village of Jermiadon. Many of the eleven apartments offer views of the plateau and mountain range. (Certain weeks will take place on the coast in Hersonissos, and for groups of four or more people you will stay at a lovely private villa in Lasithi).
About your hosts and cooking classes: Your hosts for the week are the lovely husband and wife team of Yiannis and Eleni, who started offering cooking tours in 2012. Yiannis has a background in geography, and in addition to running the apartments, he represents local cultural organizations. While it is Eleni who leads the cookery courses, he appreciates the traditional cuisine and loves spending time in the kitchen too.
With her deep knowledge of island culinary traditions, Eleni will be your teacher in the kitchen of your accommodations, introducing you to the food of the island and how their gastronomy is a way of life — and a healthy one at that! The diet of Crete dates back, as so much of the island does, to the time of the Minoans; in fact its thought that the ancient Minoans consumed much of the same food that Cretans do today.
The hands-on courses take place either in a well-equipped kitchen or on the veranda in the outdoor barbecue area, where you may enjoy your meal as well, weather permitting. Only local products are used, including virgin olive oil, pure honey, herbs, cheese, and meat. Dishes are simply prepared — often roasted, boiled, or stewed — and always determined by the season.
With more than 2 decades of studying and cooking, in addition to growing up on a family farm and working in the family's tavern, Eleni has an extensive knowledge of local food. That's reflected in her success: she's been awarded a variety of golden and silver medals by Crete's Chef Club, participated in several cook books, and hosted several TV programs. She's also a dedicated teacher and loves sharing her knowledge with her guests.