Culinary Secrets to a Longer Life with Diane Kochilas

Watch Diane’s “My Greek Table” on PBS – check your local listings!

Learn the secrets of Greek cuisine and long life from Diane Kochilas, famed cookbook author, award-winning chef, and TV personality, on the island of Ikaria. Ikaria is one of the world’s famed “Blue Zones,” a small handful of locations around the world where scientists have discovered the inhabitants live measurably longer lives. The secret to the longevity of the inhabitants is usually attributed to, quite frankly, what we would call “the good life”: fresh, seasonal food, moderate exercise, and strong family living. Ikaria is a place of relaxation and stress-free living, where the therapeutic thermal baths, the miles of beaches, the fresh air and sunshine, all combine to create a paradise on earth sure to leave you happy and invigorated (although we can’t promise your trip will actually make you live longer!).

For a handful of weeks each year, Diane Kochilas, award-winning chef, cookbook author, and TV personality, and her husband and partner Vassilis Stenos open their country home on the island of Ikaria in the ancient village of Aghios Dimitris to those wanting to learn the secrets of “Blue Zone” living and the mysteries of Greek cuisine. All in all, it will be a week of unforgettable memories in one of the most stress-free and picturesque places in Europe.


Latest Review

No rating given with this review
Greece was wonderful, Diane's cooking classes were wonderful, Ikaria was wonderful. A very warm and welcoming week – we cooked, tried lots of interesting foods, met goatherds and beekeepers. Really may have been in my top 3 vacations ever in my life! Carolyn S.

Trip Details

Enjoy daily 3 to 4-hour cooking lessons with award-winning chef, cookbook author, and TV host Diane Kochilas and her husband. Greek by heritage, New Yorker by birth, Diane is one of the foremost authorities on Greek cuisine, is host of the Greek TV show ‘What’s Cooking Today, Mom?,’ and has appeared as a guest on numerous TV news and cooking shows. She and Vassilis will impart the magic of Ikaria—its food, life, and longevity—as you explore the amazingly fresh, seasonal ingredients of this beautiful Greek island. From the herbs and wild plants, which you will learn about and gather with a knowledgeable guide, to the wine, which Odysseus himself is said to have drunk, it will be one delectable meal after another. Your daily hands-on cooking courses will cover a variety of dishes, from appetizers (including homemade phyllo) to main courses (much of it focusing on fresh seafood and fish) to dessert. The classes will be bolstered by amazing food artisan visits focusing on the local cheese, honey, and wine.


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Itinerary

Day One

Please note that this is a sample itinerary, subject to change based on season. Please keep in mind also that particularly in the off season Ikaria is not accessible by daily flights or ferries. We recommend you plan to arrive a day or two early and leave a day on the departure to make any connection in Athens.
View of Ikaria, Greece

  • Arrival and settle in to your room.
  • Time to explore this amazing island on your own, or to relax on the beach.
  • Welcome dinner with your hosts, Diane and Vasilis.
  • Transfer back to your hotel and overnight.

Kitchen for your cooking vacation in Greece


Day Two

  • Breakfast, and transfer at 8:30 am for your first cooking class. A sample menu might include:
    • Tender lettuce salad with herbs and green almonds
    • Dolmadas
    • Giant beans with herbs and honey
    • Stuffed eggplant
  • Lunch to follow, and return to your hotel around 1:30 pm.
  • Free time this afternoon .
  • “Olive oil for dessert” demonstration, followed by dinner out at a local Taverna.
  • Transfer back to your hotel and overnight.

Cooking vacation in Greece


Day Three

  • Breakfast.
  • Next, a cheese experience, from milking goat to making the cheese.
  • Enjoy a nature walk learning about and foraging for wild herbs and other ingredients, including a lesson on folk pharmacopoeia.
  • Next, time to cook together, focussing on “Land, Sea, and the Seasons.”
  • Lunch to follow.
  • Rest of day on your own. (There is also an optional sunset Yoga class.)
  • Overnight.

Cooking classes in Greece with Diane Kochilas


Day Four

  • Breakfast and either a free day or choose one of the optional excursion:
    • A day at the hot springs
    • Hiking the mountain trains
  • Around 6:30, head back to the kitchen to prepare your dinner with Diane. The class will feature herbs for a fast and healthy meal.
  • Overnight.

Enjoying dinner in Greece


Day Five

  • Breakfast and your next cooking class featuring “fearless phyllo” and traditional grains.
  • Lunch to follow.
  • Free time this afternoon.
  • Around 7:15 pm off to visit a local monastery, followed by a lovely farmhouse dinner.
  • Overnight.

Cooking class in Greece


Day Six

  • Breakfast and pickup at 8:30 am for a visit with a local beekeeper. Travel to the forested interior of Ikaria to see one of the island’s most accomplished bee keepers in action, and taste some of the wonderful honey.
  • Transfer back to the hotel with the rest of the afternoon free for exploring or relaxing. You might have a snack for lunch while you’re out, or lunch on your own during your free time.
  • Pickup at 6:00 pm and transfer to your hosts’ home for your farewell dinner. The menu might include:
    • Ikarian fish soup with trahana
    • Grilled octopus
    • Katsikaki riganato
    • Your hostess’s special roasted potatoes
    • Garden salad
    • Galaktoboureko
  • Transfer back to the hotel and overnight.

Day Seven

  • Breakfast and departure.

Trip Details

Included in the 6-Night Trip

Accommodations

6 nights accommodations in Armenistis

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 5 lunches
  • 5 dinners
  • Wine included with all included meals

Classes & Instructors

Enjoy daily 3 to 4-hour cooking lessons with award-winning chef, cookbook author, and TV host Diane Kochilas and her husband. Greek by heritage, New Yorker by birth, Diane is one of the foremost authorities on Greek cuisine, is host of the Greek TV show ‘What’s Cooking Today, Mom?,’ and has appeared as a guest on numerous TV news and cooking shows. She and Vassilis will impart the magic of Ikaria—its food, life, and longevity—as you explore the amazingly fresh, seasonal ingredients of this beautiful Greek island. From the herbs and wild plants, which you will learn about and gather with a knowledgeable guide, to the wine, which Odysseus himself is said to have drunk, it will be one delectable meal after another. Your daily hands-on cooking courses will cover a variety of dishes, from appetizers (including homemade phyllo) to main courses (much of it focusing on fresh seafood and fish) to dessert. The classes will be bolstered by amazing food artisan visits focusing on the local cheese, honey, and wine.

Excursions

  • Cheese producer visit, from milking to making the cheese!
  • Nature walk/herb foraging with local expert
  • Optional excursion day 4 (hot springs or mountain trails)
  • Trip to local monastery
  • Beekeeper visit

Transfer Details

  • Arrival and departure transfers are not included but should be arranged prior to your trip. A taxi from the airport will run around 60 Euro each way, from the port of Evdilos a taxi will run around 15 Euro each way. Please note that since flights and ferries to Ikaria are not frequent – especially in the shoulder seasons – you may need to spend a night in Athens on arrival or departure. We would be happy to assist you with your travel arrangements. 

Not Included

  • Liquor
  • Personal expenses
  • Cost of taxi transfer on arrival/departure days

Accommodation Information

Stay at the Erofyli Beach Hotel in Armenistis. The hotel has a decidedly Greek aesthetic and sustainable construction featuring wood and Ikarian stone. The rooms feature traditional furniture, WiFi, air conditioning, satellite TV, safe, mini-bar, telephone, hair dryer, and room service. The hotel has a pool and beach access to two of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. (If unavailable another comparable hotel will be substituted.)

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Pricing & Tour Dates

Looking for tour date information?


2020 Pricing:

6-night Program
US$3750 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$188 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 90 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!


Tour Dates

Available the following dates.

2019
SOLD OUT

2020
May 31-June 6
June 7-13
June 14-20
June 21-27
August 30-September 5
September 6-12
September 13-19

Other dates may be available for groups of 6 or more, please inquire.

Pricing & Dates

Class Pricing

Reviews

No rating given with this review
Greece was wonderful, Diane's cooking classes were wonderful, Ikaria was wonderful. A very warm and welcoming week – we cooked, tried lots of interesting foods, met goatherds and beekeepers. Really may have been in my top 3 vacations ever in my life! Carolyn S.
No rating given with this review
Enjoyed it all! I particularly loved the ambiance of the group experience, the delightful terrace where we ate, and the friendly help from Lisane and the two charming girls..The food was great, especially the "weeds" and veggie dishes, which I will be trying to find or grow….I loved my octopus, and especially the white bean dish. You are a great teacher, and what more can I say! Alex E.