Ionian Culture and Cooking on Zakynthos - NEW
Laganas (Zakynthos Island)
Travel to the “Flower of the East,” as the Venetians once called Zakynthos Island during their rule from the 15th to 18th Century. Home to the famous Caretta-Caretta (Loggerhead) sea turtle and 7,000 species of flowers, Zakynthos is also famous for growing some of the best olives, wines, grains, and fruits due to its extremely fertile soil and temperate climate. The green island also boasts producing more than 10,000 tons of extra virgin olive oil, and it offers a breathtaking landscape that varies from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs surrounded by the clearest blue sea you will ever see.
Also due to its ideal fertile soil and water sources, Zakynthos has been conquered by numerous civilizations over the centuries, such as the Arcadians, Macedonians, Romans, Venetians, French, Turks, and British — all of whom impacted the gastronomy of the island. The island finally gained its independence in 1830 and officially became apart of Greece 1864. Today, the local people are delighted to share their beautiful island and its complex history with visitors.
About the accommodations: During your culinary vacation, stay at the beautiful Villa Spiros, a small family-run villa located just a short walk from the Laganas Beach and Laganas main street that is full of great local shops and restaurants. The colorful villa has three rooms and five suites with clean and modern accommodations. It is a quiet and relaxing oasis and your hosts are delighted to provide recommendations to make for an unforgettable vacation experiencing the local gastronomy and culture of Zakynthos. (During the high season, an alternative accommodation may be substituted, depending on availability).
About the cooking lessons: The cooking lessons take place in a variety of different kitchens and are hosted by famous local chefs as well as grandmothers — but all the recipes are ones that have been passed down for generations. The first cooking class takes place in a family-run taverna on Dafani beach, and focuses on creating tantalizing seafood dishes. Your second class is an authentic farm-to-fork experience with a charming grandmother who believes "happy animals" produce healthy meat. You'll also discover that wineries aren't only for producing wine; your third-cooking class will teach you how to use a wood oven to create amazing Greek dishes. On the final day of your Greek gastronomy journey, make the classic Baklava dish, and end your day with a fabulous Greek BBQ. All cooking classes take place in beautiful, unique locales, making the already-enjoyable experience even more spectacular.