Cooking Schools In Greece 

Sifnos  17 - 24 June 2019

Sithonia and Thessaloniki   22 - 30 September 2019

 

Sifnos

On the island the light is very special and the sea is always present. I stay in Vathi which is a sleepy cluster of houses on the beach to the south of the island. Vathi has 6 tavernas serving traditional Greek food and a charming little Greek Orthodox church, all on the beach. There are only one or two rows of houses and the hills host goats, donkeys and bees. An island bus links Vathi to the small towns of Apollonia and Artemonas, named after the gods, a high Venetian fortress, Kastro, and the lively port, Kamares. One summer, after a morning swim when I was the only person in the sea, I sat enjoying a glass of wine and thinking "et in Arcadia sum". Arcadia should be shared with the deserving few, so the idea of my Greek island Idyll was born.

 Flights should be booked to Athens and we will meet to catch an afternoon  fast boat to Sifnos.  Accommodation will be in Vathi in private houses on the beach in self-contained bedrooms with simple private bathroom. air conditioning and refrigerators. Many of the rooms have small balconies where you can sit and gaze at the sea with a glass in your hand. Every morning breakfast will be served at a pretty terrace by the sea.

One day we will help cook our lunch in one of the tavernas on the beach, and we will have a lesson with Ronia in the Apollonia house she inherited from her grandmother. She will take the more energetic on a hike and a more gentle walking excursion. Sifnos is known as the island of cooks and potters and we will explore some of the local potteries. After that more free time to read, sleep, sun bathe or explore the many local churches. In the evening we will go to eat somewhere different in other parts of the island, or people can opt for time alone.

The price is 1850 euros and includes bed and breakfast, one main meal a day, lessons and local transport.

Sithonia and Thessaloniki

At the end of the summer I decided to think of new locations in Greece, and I decided check out Alexander the Great’s Macedonia. In the north east of the country there is the famous Mount Athos peninsula, where Greek Orthodox monks live in isolated monasteries running down the cliff to the sea. Women are not allowed to visit, and even men have to gain permission long in advance. The next-door peninsula, Sithonia, is a calm green oasis which seems to have escaped the onslaught of mass tourism. When I visited at the end of August it seemed magical, with its canopies of tall trees and greenery. I had come to explore a small, family resort with spacious, shady bungalows and two immaculate quiet sandy beaches, a 90 minute taxi ride from Thesaloniki. Although it was August there were only three or four people on  beach and we strolled into the welcoming sea before even thinking of the cool white wine and tsasiki waiting a few feet away. I had found the place for my next Greek idyll.

While staying here we will explore nearby small fishing towns and take a boat to swim and admire Mount Athos from the sea.

I fell in love withThessaloniki  The old Byzantine walls in Ano Poli reminded me of Istanbul, and we visited Vladaton monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its small church where St.Paul preached and wrote.  Ladadika, with its maze of small alleys where olive oil used to be stored prior to shipping. This was once the red light district, but today the buzz comes from the young, vibrant bars and eating places which come to life in the evening. To calm down we took a gentle stroll along the port, which was established around 300 B.C. It played an important role in both World Wars and its direct connections to the Balkans and central Europe make it an important trade route. Thessaloniki has become the food capital of Greece and the new twist added to long-time favourites was very exciting.We will visit Aigai (Vergina) where Philip of Macedon’s palace treasures and burial site were discovered in the seventies. It is about an hour's drive away so we will have a chance to explore Macedonia's rugged countryside.

We will have five days by the sea to relax like the lotus eaters, enjoying fresh fish, Greek salad and cool white wine. Each bungalow has a private terrace, trees, and a hammock so  you can stock your fridge with Mythos, or make your own tea or coffee at will. After this relaxing break we will have three very full days in Thessaloniki staying at the Makedonia Palace hotel.

 

Price 2950 euros to include accommodation, local private transport, breakfasts and main meal.