Along with our Bon Appétit Culinary Center Chef, explore the birthplace of the Mediterranean Diet; Crete. You'll visit a traditional village near the legendary birthplace of Zeus and enjoy an interactive cooking demonstration of authentic Cretan cuisine, which you will later enjoy for lunch on a stone patio overlooking the hillside of olive groves.
Join your Chef in the Bon Appétit Culinary Center for an overview of today's tour and the healthy Mediterranean cuisine. Then travel by coach along the sea towards the outskirts of Heraklion, before turning southward toward Zaros. As you ascend toward the center of the island, the countryside and the views become even more spectacular. Our guide and Chef will point out native herbs and share highlights of the world famous Cretan cuisine. Hundreds of herbs grow wild on Crete, many never leaving the island, and the mountain air carries the slightly fragrant scent of wild sage and thyme.
In time, you'll reach your destination, a traditional village nestled in the foothills of Mount Ida, the island's highest summit and according to mythology the birthplace of Zeus. The quiet village has retained is time-honored methods of farming, weaving, wood carving and creating local Cretan cuisine. You'll wander through the gardens and cobblestone pathways to the central taverna where a friendly and informal cooking demonstration awaits you. Tables are set for hands-on preparation of seasonal dishes such as dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves), gemista (stuffed vegetables) and cheese pies made with nuts and honey. The ingredients are local and recipes are always seasonal. In this lovely setting, you'll feel like 'one of the family', working alongside mother, grandmother and daughter in their traditional and colorful Cretan costume.
Once the cooking is complete, you will learn about Cretan olive oil from a local specialist and taste local extra virgin olive oils. Traditionally, one-third of calories of the Cretan diet came from olive oil, and it is a sacred and important aspect of their cuisine. Some local cheeses will be shared at this time, also for your tasting pleasure. And for those adventurous enough, you can sample raki, the high alcohol drink made locally and enjoyed throughout Greece.
After the olive oil tasting join our Chef and your new 'foodie' friends to enjoy a magnificent, freshly prepared meal, Cretan-style, including a sampling of local Cretan wine. The renowned Cretan diet is exceptionally nutritious, as it features plenty of vegetables, beans, grains and wholesome olive oil. But best of all, it is delicious!
Following lunch, you'll drive back to a spot near the pier where you can then choose to make your way back to the ship, or remain in town to do some exploring and shopping. Our chef will be happy to point out shops with local products of culinary and wine interest where you can purchase olive oils, spices, cookbooks and wines you have sampled today.
Please note: Walking on this tour is mainly at the guests' discretion during free time. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.