August 30th, 2012
Cook Like a Local: New Cookery School opens in Crete

Want to learn the secrets of the healthiest eating on earth? Now it’s just a click away. Live like a local with Greece’s hottest gastro travel team at ELEONAS resort, located in Crete’s prettiest rural heartland, on a six day cookery course, with guided forays along our own Greek Slow Food Trail.

The ELEONAS Cretan Cookery School offers hands-on cookery courses in Zaros, Greece, amidst the UNESCO National Park of Mt Psiloritis. Our daily classes teach small groups about regional dishes, local award winning organic wines, and the seasonal, natural artisan produce which underpins the famous Cretan diet. The perfect cooking holiday in Greece combined with a dazzling slice of Cretan lifestyle.

Starting on 28th October, our six day courses at ELEONAS resort – number one b&b on TripAdvisor – from 29th October to 31 March cost only EUR 1,490 per person inclusive of six nights private accommodation, airport transfers, all tuition, meals, wine and six guided excursions (flights extra). Booking is now live via our website, or guests can reserve over the phone.

The programme includes full board, drinks, wine, daily classes in English with local chefs, service, 6 nights accommodation in private stone cottages, escorted excursions with renowned travel expert and writer, airport transfers. All our food ingredients are 100% home grown on our family farm, or sustainably sourced within 5km of ELEONAS.

Together, we visit our bustling autumn markets to shop and source the freshest ingredients. We chat to the vendors and sample some of the aromatic flavours. Talk about Crete’s herbs and teas with healing properties like Dittany. Drop into Eleonas farm to collect a few eggs from their hens. we gather in the kitchen for afternoon cookery with our chef for the main dinner. This may be an oven baked lamb kleftiko with potatoes, depending on the daily market supply.

Another day, piling into our trucks, we head to the olive groves to join in the harvest, pausing for a hearty picnic brunch with juices. Onto the oil mill to witness the hustle and bustle of Crete’s own ‘paddock to plate’ oil industry. Olive oil tasting session with some local growers, best time to score some fresh green ‘liquid gold’ to take home. The more energetic groups can’t miss out on foraging for horta or wild greens. Greeks are fanatical about getting hold of these nutritious leaves for dishes or simply boiled, served with oil and lemon.

We make olive bread and horitatiko from scratch. Heading up our nearest flour mill in Zaros village, we make flour the old fashioned way to bake in the outdoor wood oven. we meet a local shepherd watching his small scale output of tasty Cretan cheeses such as anthotiro, against a backdrop of spectacular mountain scenery. On our way back, we make a pitstop at Zaros, to sip strong black Greek coffee and take the village pulse in the kafenion and collect some jars of honey to drizzle over the cheeses.

We travel to award winning winery, Zacharoudakis for a personal tour and sampling of his impressive hand made red and wine varieties, grown on a dramatic peak overlooking ancient Gortyn. He hosts a special wine tasting lunch for us all.

We pass by Gortyn square and church to marvel at the  and a plane tree linked to the mythical wedding of Zeus and Europa, no less.