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Greek Food – Greek Cooking – Greek Recipes by Diane Kochilas | October 25, 2014

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SUMMER COOKING CLASSES ON IKARIA

Glorious Greek Cooking on Ikaria!

JOIN US FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE WEEK ON THE “BLUE ZONE” ISLAND OF IKARIA.

Ikaria, our sleepy backwater and beautiful Aegean island, was just catapulted to fame in a New York Times Magazine article which touted its stress-free ways, delicious, healthy diet and the amazing longevity of its denizens. Join us for a taste of this amazing lifestyle!

Savour the warm embrace of an undiscovered Greek island in summer. Learn the secrets of great, healthful, simple dishes in a timeless Greek village. Delight in the treats of a flourishing organic garden. Wine, dine and unwind for an unforgettable week of convivial and cultural pleasures with Diane and Vassilis on the lush, unhurried, “Blue Zone” island of Ikaria.

The Glorious Greek Kitchen Cooking School is situated in the mountain village of Agios Dimitris, Raches, Ikaria, about 5 km from the beach, in a stone house surrounded by a dense forest and flourishing organic garden. Guests reside in first-class accommodation on the beach.

The week begins with an introduction to Greek Food and Wine and a sunset Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant on Sunday evening. Date and group permitting, we sometimes begin by taking students to a local festival in a remote village, the kind of experience typical tourists are never privy to.

Classes are hands-on and each session is organized around a full meal and menu, accompanied by wines and other Greek spirits. Guests dine with Diane and Vassilis in the garden, either at lunch or dinner, depending on the time of each individual class. Diane holds five hands-on classes during the week additionally guests are taken to dine in local tavernas where they savour island specialties, such as fresh-caught fish and just-picked vegetables. The week also includes visits to wineries, cheese makers, beekeepers and farmers. A visit on the other side of the island is planned for a dip in Ikaria’s completely untrammelled mineral springs, where guests can enjoy the therapeutic waters heralded by the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates.

The philosophy behind each of the classes is to promote the healthful, flavourful, simple foods of Greece and to give guests plenty of ideas and recipes they can use in their own kitchens back home. Another important part of the experience is an immersion in local ways, into to the timeless, stress-free atmosphere of real village life. Ikaria is a Blue Zone, one of the few places on earth where longevity rates are so high they are a statistical anomaly. We strive to give our guests a delicious, but healthy repertoire of dishes. The menus are geared toward home cooks and the ingredients are always available for kitchens far away from this glorious Greek-island retreat. All classes are taught in English.

Classes include:

• Daily 3-4 hour hands-on cooking session and meal with internationally acknowledged Greek cooking expert Diane Kochilas in her traditional Greek-island villa kitchen; in each class students will prepare a full menu, including mezethes (small plates or appetizers), filo specialties, both with homemade and commercial pastry, savory pies, a whole range of wonderful, healthful, light vegetable- and bean-based dishes, meat and fish specialties, and desserts. Many classes take place in her outdoor kitchen, and pies and other specialties are baked in a traditional wood-burning oven.

• Visit and class with a local, artisan cheese maker for a glimpse of age-old island cheese-making techniques. Occasional preparation of own cheese in Diane’s kitchen.

• Several cheese tastings and discussions of regional Greek goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and cow’s milk cheeses.

• A session with a local beekeeper and regional Greek honey tasting.

• An introduction to and tasting of local and regional Greek wines.

• An introduction to and tasting of Greek olive oil.

• A dip in the therapeutic waters of Ikaria’s mineral springs.

• Excursions (date permitting) to one of the unforgettable local village feasts to dance, wine, dine and more.

• Dancing lesson with a local teacher (on school premises).

Cost & Booking Information 

The weeklong session costs $2,450 per person and includes all meals, double-occupancy lodging at the Messakti Village Hotel, excursions and transportation on the island. It does not include travel expenses to and from Greece and Ikaria.

2013 Class Schedule

MAY 7-12

JULY 1-6

JULY 8-13

COST : $2,450 per person, double occupancy lodging.

BOOK YOUR TOUR HERE

 

SAMPLE PROGRAM

GLORIOUS GREEK KITCHEN IN IKARIA 

Program is subject to slight changes in menus and activity times from session to session.

DAY ONE 

WELCOME TO IKARIA!

7.30pm: PICK UP, SUNSET WELCOME DINNER

DAY TWO

11.00am: HOTEL PICK UP

03.00pm (approx.): COOKING SESSION

INTRODUCTION TO GREEK ISLAND CUISINE

Menu: Roasted eggplant salad with capers and tomatoes; puree of yellow split peas with two garnishes; cretan barley rusk meze with grated tomatoes; fried zucchini/eggplant fingers; baked summer vegetables with feta and herbs; galaktoboureko.

RETURN TO HOTEL, AFTERNOON FREE

09.00pm: HOTEL PICK UP, DINNER AT LOCAL TAVERNA

DAY THREE

10.00am: HOTEL PICK UP, VISIT TO LOCAL BEEKEEPER & BEEHIVES WITH HONEY TASTING WORKSHOP

01.30-02.00pm: RETURN TO HOTEL, AFTERNOON FREE

05.30pm: HOTEL PICK UP

COOKING SESSION

FEARLESS FILO

Menu: Basic homemade filo pastry; zucchini & herb pie; multilayered northern Greek cheese pie; small filo triangles and cylinders with pastourma, tomatoes and kasseri cheese (baked and fried); fried filo with ice cream and honey;

GARDEN DINNER

LATE EVENING RETURN TO HOTEL

DAY FOUR 

09.30am: HOTEL PICK UP

10.00am: COOKING SESSION

GREEK COUNTRY GARDEN RECIPES

MENU: Stuffed grape leaves; vegetarian-stuffed eggplants; Ikarian vegetable medley “Soufico”; herbed zucchini fritters; Ikarian potato salad with tomatoes and herbs; yogurt and sour cherry mousse.

02.00-02.30pm: RETURN TO HOTEL, AFTERNOON FREE

05.15pm: HOTEL PICK UP

EXCURSION TO THEOKTISTI MONASTERY & WINE TASTING AT KARIMANLIS

ESTATE IN PIGI

09.00-9.30pm: DINNER AT POPI’S TAVERNA IN FYTEMA

11.30pm: MIDNIGHT RETURN TO HOTEL

DAY FIVE 

8.30am: DEPART FOR MINERAL SPRINGS IN LEFKADA/AGIOS KYRIKOS; LUNCH IN AGIOS

03.00pm: RETURN

06.30pm: HOTEL PICK UP

COOKING SESSION

FISH FROM THE WINE-DARK SEA

Menu: Island fish soup; shrimp with creamy ouzo sauce; Cretan octopus with fennel, orange and olives; squid-u/a; fresh fruit

DAY SIX 

08.00am: HOTEL PICK UP

EXCURSION TO SHEPHERD’S PLACE: GRAZING THE GOATS, MILKING, AND CHEESEMAKING SESSION

BACK TO VILLA THANASSI FOR CHEESEMAKING SESSION & LIGHT LUNCH

12.00am (approx.): RETURN TO HOTEL, AFTERNOON FREE

05.30pm: HOTEL PICK UP

06.00pm: FINAL COOKING SESSION

A MEZE FEAST

Menu: A not-so-classic skordalia with octopus broth; roasted  spicy feta; green peppers sautéed in olive oil with tomatoes; grilled octopus; light ground-meat keftedes; kid roasted in the wood-burning oven with potatoes; loukoumades (fritters) with honey and cinnamon.

DAY 7

DEPARTURE