Two years ago, in June, Thomas and I traveled to Crete. We made a road trip around the island and we visited different small villages. One of the memories that I cherish the most from that trip is the cooking class we took there. I am in love with Greek food and obviously I wanted to have the experience of learning how to cook typical Cretan food! When I started looking at different options on the Internet I found Eleni, a Cretan woman who offers a very intimate and homely experience.
Eleni lives in a farmhouse only 5 km away from the center of Kissamos, a small and lovely village on the northwest corner of the island. It is there where she organizes the cooking classes.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Eleni and all her big Greek family, including her sister-in-law who joined us for the course. We sat in the garden, surrounded by the scents of herbs and spices while we enjoyed a typical orange peel preserved. After that we went for a walk around the farm surrounded by olive trees while she told stories and shared the customs of the island with us.
Later, we started to prepare the dinner in the garden! All the ingredients we used came from her vegetable garden, including the olive oil and the wine the family members make themselves each year. We prepared several Cretan dishes as dakos, yemista and kalitsounia as well as the famous Greek sauce, tzalziki, that they used as garnish. All of this while drinking frappe. It does not get much better than this!
After almost two hours of cutting ingredients, chatting and cooking in her kitchen, we all had dinner together, while enjoying stories about the life on the island and the political situation of Greece in general. Eleni’s English is very good so we did not have any problem understanding us!
We spent five hours there and I must say it was an incredibly enriching experience. If you are planning on visiting Crete, I absolutely recommend paying Eleni a visit.
You can get more about her courses here.
Photography: Carlota Fariña