Greek Gastronomy on Santorini
Santorini Island (Cyclades)
With its warm breezes, white-washed stone homes, flower gardens, vineyards, and a lagoon surrounded by a stony cliff, the Greek island of Santorini in the south Aegean Sea is a piece of heaven on earth. While it's a part of the Cyclades group of islands, Santorini is a mythical island that has a magic all its own. Once known as Kalliste, or "the most beautiful one," Santorini today is named after Saint Irene. Despite its name change, it continues to be regaled for its beauty; Travel+Leisure magazine named it the number one island in all of Europe in 2011, in large part due to its natural beauty.
The island, also known as a caldera (volcano), dates back to the Minoan civilization. Once part of a larger island, a volcanic eruption during the Bronze Age — 3,500 years ago — split the island away from others in the Cyclades island chain. With the island's volcanic soil, Santorini is particularly suited to a wonderful array of vegetables that are grown with very little water, including the island's famous fava, white eggplants, large cucumbers, capers, and, especially, cherry tomatoes. Their ancient winemaking traditions are also important on Santorini; most vintages are made with Assyrtiko grapes, and locals are particularly proud of their sweet Vinsanto wine.
About the accommodations: Discover the local gastronomy and ancient Greek-Cycladic culture on Santorini while staying in a 3 or 4 star small boutique hotel, which will be determined at the time of booking. Many of these properties are family run, all are well-equipped, and most are located on the caldera — meaning you'll experience breathtaking views of both the island and the blue sea.
About the cooking classes: Chef Vassilis grew up on the island with a large family, and today he runs a popular local restaurant which is known for its delectable appetizers and use of local products. When he's not in his kitchen or spending evening soirees with friends singing, drinking, and eating, he's representing the island in international cooking competitions.
Through two hands-on cooking classes with Chef Vassilis, one of his collaborators, or another local chef, you'll learn about the traditions and techniques of Greek Island cooking. While many recipes are seafood based, ingredients — such as the island's famous tomatoes — are sourced from the local market.