Late afternoon: check-in at Cavos or Erofilli Hotels
Evening: Diane & Vassili’s Home & Garden
• Welcome, introduction and discussion about Ikaria and its unique culture
• Sunset Dinner – Lesson 1: Traditions of Hospitality; the Ikarian Way
This is our welcome dinner and first cooking lesson together. We aim here to foster that deep-felt sense of hospitality that is such an important part of local culture and endemic to the sense of “emotional well-being” that the life on Ikaria fosters.
9:30 am: pickup
10:00 am: Lecture: Herbs for Healing, Herbs for Flavor
Noon – 5:00 pm: Free
5:00 pm: Lesson 2: Cooking with Herbs for Health and Pleasure
In this session, we’ll explore Ikaria’s wild nature on a forest walk, during which time we’ll see firsthand some of the amazing variety of wild plants and herbs that provide the basis of local folk medicine but also are delicious food. Back at Diane & Vassili’s we will learn about the power and place of herbs and wild plants in local folk medicine and sample an array of Ikarian herbal teas, one of the foundations of this Blue Zone Greek Island’s health and longevity secrets.
Goats’ Milk, Cheese and Ancient Wine
Visit a local goatherd; milk and make fresh local Kathoura cheese
In this session, we will visit a local goatherd, will milk his ewes and then return to Diane’s kitchen to sample fresh goat’s milk and to make fresh local Kathoura cheese.
Then, we will make our way up the mountain (hiking optional) for a glorious vineyard picnic lunch and wine tasting. Here, we will learn some of the life-giving secrets of local Ikarian wine and see how it is still produced and aged, in amphorae, buried deep in the ground, as has been done since antiquity.
We will leave the vineyard in mid-afternoon.
8:30 am: pickup
Honey Time: Drive to mountain forest for a visit with one of the island’s most renowned beekeepers. We will watch the whole process and learn about the amazing, awe-inspiring life of bees and about the divine sweet honey they produce.
Noon: Light lunch in Christos, Raches Village
6 pm: pickup
Lesson 3: From Garden to Plate – a Natural Feast
Menu – TBA
Greece Mainland: Athens, Corinthia, and Peloponnese
Afternoon: flight from Ikaria to Athens.
Transfer from Athens airport to hotel (individual arrangement)
Evening: Athens – free
9:00 am: pick up from the hotel in Athens
After breakfast: short tour of Athens, the capital of Greece and one of the oldest cities in the world, including: the Acropolis (“upper city”), where we will visit the remains of the ancient city whose age is estimated to be about 5,000 years old; the Parthenon, which was preserved almost intact; the new museum, which opened a few years ago. We will climb Mount Lycabettus for a view of the entire city and then descend to the foot of the Acropolis, to the ancient “Plaka” quarter, which is a bustling tourist district today.
12:00 pm: drive to Club Hotel Loutraki, Loutraki, Corinthia
1:00 pm: lunch
After lunch: free time.
5:00 pm: pick up from hotel’s lobby. Visit the Corinth Canal, a fascinating engineering marvel, crossing the Peloponnese Peninsula, connecting the Gulf of Corinth to the Saronic Gulf and shortening the trip from the Aegean Sea to the port city of Piraeus by 320 km (200 miles).
Evening: dinner at Gargantua or Rigani – one of Tallis chefs’ traditional Greek Tavern.
9:30 am: pick up
10:00 am: baking class at Dimitriou Bakery, where we will meet Sotiris and his wife Maria. We will be given safety instructions for working in the bakery and we will begin to bake and to prepare traditional Greek cheese and spinach pies. We will bake special Greek breads; cookies with olive oil, grape sugar concentrate ….and ouzo. After class, we will sit down to eat the pies and breads we prepared, and add traditional Greek dishes to the repast to round out the menu.
Demonstration at To Filema Tis Lelas in Kiato, a small charming family factory belonging to Sofia and Georgos, where Sofia prepares Greek spoon sweets with recipes that are passed down from generation to generation and from mother to daughter in her family. Distinctive sweets are part of the Greek tradition. We will learn to prepare the jams and spoon sweets so typical of the Greek cuisine. After class, everyone in the group sits down for a tasting feast, where they sample the various types of sweets, together with wine and bread.
2:00 pm: back to the hotel. Free time.
4:00 pm: pick up. We will leave for the Nemea region, the “wine country” of the Peloponnese, where we will visit the centuries-old vineyards. We will visit the finest wineries and taste the superb wines of Nemea, produced with 4,000 years of experience.
8:00 pm: Sophos Tavern. We will meet Maria and Irini for a great classic Greek dinner with wine from the Nemea region. We will dance the traditional Sirtaki to the sounds of the bouzouki.
Midnight: back to the hotel.
9:30 am: pick up for a full day fascinating “Argolis Classic” tour of the Peloponnese, the cradle of Greek civilization. The tour is named after the Kingdom of Argolis, which dwelt in Peloponnese thousands of years ago, passing through some of the main sites of Peloponnese.
We will visit Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Nafplio.
In Epidaurus we will visit the old city and the 3,000-year-old amphitheater, which is an acoustic marvel and still to this day serves as a site for special music events, attracting music lovers from all over Greece. From there we will go to Mycenae, the place of residence of the ancient royal dynasty of King Agamemnon king of Argolis and where Helen of Troy was kidnapped. We will tour the beautifully preserved old city of Mycenae and the graves of the royal dynasty. We will then travel to Nafplio and will explore ancient castles, amazing museums, the narrow alleyways of the open-air market, and the beach restaurants.
Evening: free. Enjoy any of the hotel’s restaurants, the many Tavernas in the city, the Greek pubs and bars, or the deluxe Loutraki Casino.
9:30 am: pick up. We will leave the hotel and set out for a Greek traditional Pasta cooking class.
The prevalent notion is that pasta originated in Italy. Apparently that is not the case. Pasta was actually born in ancient Greece and from there moved to Italy. In Greek mythology, the god Vulcan forced dough through a machine, which created thin, edible strips. Today pasta production continues where Vulcan left off, producing the tasty traditional Greek pasta.
In the class on pasta, we will prepare traditional Greek pasta in a small pasta factory. Most of the production will be by Eftichia, while the group will receive explanations. We will experience producing many kinds of delicious handmade traditional Greek pasta, placing emphasis on raw ingredients, using only the purest and freshest, never adding coloring or preservatives. After the class, the group will sit down to a light lunch based on traditional Greek pastas.
1:00 pm: back to the hotel
5:00 pm: pick up to a cooking class with one of Tallis Chefs. We will meet our chef, become acquainted with the kitchen where we will be spending the evening. We will then be given safety instructions for working in the kitchen preparing a sumptuous Mediterranean dinner. We will spend 3-4 hours in a fascinating, unifying group experience, among pots and pans, ovens and mixers, bottles of olive oil and beds of herbs that are adjacent to every self-respecting Tavern. Every participant will discover their “inner chef” when preparing the traditional lavish Greek meal, with 5-6 courses. We will have dinner, completely prepared by you, supplemented with fine Greek wines.
9:30 pm: back to the hotel