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.

Culinary Secrets to a Longer Life with Diane Kochilas 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.