Made in Crete

Olive Tree in sunlight2 Made in Crete

MADE IN CRETE (c) is our new brainchild. Launched this month after five years of planning, a food and wine trail is off the starting blocks. We feel itʼs about time the world discovers this stunning island and its culinary treasures – by exploring its agrotourism hotspots in both summer and winter.

The World Health Organisation recognises the Cretan diet as the worldʼs best, not surprisingly having the highest percentage organically registered farms, bringing unprocessed products to market with little changed over the last few centuries.

At the heart of the trail, our trail partner, ELEONAS Hotel is championing locally sourced, sustainable food and wines, some of which are only found in one region of this island. ELEONAS is an exquisite collection of stone cottages scattered across the olive clad slopes of the Rouvas Gorge in Zaros. Travellers can now ‘Live like a local’ with Greeceʼs hottest gastro travel team at ELEONAS resort, located in Creteʼs prettiest rural heartland, on a six day cookery course, with guided forays along our own Greek Slow Food Trail.

The ELEONAS Cretan Cookery School offers hands-on cookery courses in Zaros, Greece, amidst the UNESCO National Park of Mt Psiloritis. Our daily classes teach small groups about regional dishes, local award winning organic wines, and the seasonal, natural artisan produce which underpins the famous Cretan diet. The perfect cooking holiday in Greece combined with a dazzling slice of Cretan lifestyle (www.eleonas.gr)

Lady holds olives Made in CreteThe trail starts in the islandʼs capital and gateway – Heraklion – heading south through Creteʼs green hinterland and prime wine growing territory to the lush agricultural heartland of Mt Psiloritis National Park. Zaros village is located at the mouth of the little visited Rouvas gorge which provides Greece with bottled natural mountain spring water.

The bustling working village of Zaros and ELEONAS Hotel overlook the sunsoaked fertile Messara Valley towards the Libyan Sea. This tourist free zone is a bucolic network of quiet rural roads which meander through the dense glistening olive groves, vineyards and family run farms – once the breadbasket of the ancient Minoan culture, and still scattered with fascinating ruins and remains like the sites of Gortyn and Phaestos.

More info: http://www.threesixtydegrees.net/?p=624

Sheep in olive grove Made in Crete

11 comments

      • Gosp44, April 3, 2012 at 10:48 am Maria’s apartment in Makrygialos was fllseaws; we arrived late to a warm welcome by Maria and Despoina who showed us our rooms that were simple, yet cosy with a beautiful view of the greek mountains. Throughout our stay our hosts made every effort to make us feel at home and a part of their family which we felt made our stay extra special.The apartment itself was clean and spacious, with everything you wanted from fruit to a hairdryer; the spot was a very short 5 minute stroll to the harbour which had an array of restaurants and bars, all as nice as the one before! The beach was literally on our doorstep and the sunbeds were spread out each day for us, each room having their own little spot on the golden sand.Overall it was a fantastic holiday and we are certain that we will return to Marias, it is not to be missed!Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple

    • Dizztraveler, April 3, 2012 at 11:03 am We found Makriyialos and Maria’s apartments by seanrhicg this site, and were not disappointed. The town (more of a village) is in a corner of Crete unspoiled by recent development, and going there reminded me of trips to Greece and Cyprus in the 1970s and 80s. When we drove along the north west coast of the island it looked ghastly by comparison.Maria and her daughter Despoina were delightful – genuinely kind and welcoming, available without being intrusive. The apartment was basic but equipped with thoughtful extras like a coffee maker, books, a welcoming beer and homemade cakes, homegrown grapes and olive oil. It was also spotless, close to supermarkets and a couple of great tavernas, and the bedroom doors opened right onto the town’s exceptionally clean, sandy underpopulated beach. (Our son’s bed was in the rather noisier kitchen area by the front door,, so our apartment may have worked better for two people, but this is a small point. )The swimming in Makriyialos is particularly good, and we liked the fact that we found no discos and only two places with an internet connection in town. We swam around to the next bay where there is a ‘holiday village’, and were mystified by the sight of people packed like sardines in loungers on a tiny beach – a world away. Maria’s apartments is old-fashioned budget accommodation, run by very nice people who would go some lengths to make you comfortable. It is easy to recommend it.

    • Rahhl, April 3, 2012 at 11:03 am We have just got back from a week in Makrigialos for our friends weinddg. Normally we would stay in a 5* or boutique hotel but when we couldn’t find one in the area thought we would try Maria after all it is No 1 on the trip advisor list for the area.When we arrived we were greeted straight away by Maria who promptly sat us down and presented us with some greek meze, what a welcome we are going to like it here.We had a room overlooking the sea (and it is right on the beach) with a large double bed a small kitchenette, shower room and french windows leading on to a balcony. It was homely and scruplulously clean. There is a lovely garden full of flowers leading straight onto the sandy beach. There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas for our use and a couple of steps into the sea. What more could be ask for?Maria greeeted us most mornings with some sort of offering, freshly baked cake, bread or home grown tomatoes or apricots, not because it’s included in the price because it’s not but because she liked to.There are supermarkets, butchers and the best bakery to match any in London, very close by. For restaurants, cafes and bars take a 5 min stroll along the beach to the harbour.We’ll be back

    • VanHay, April 3, 2012 at 1:03 am I first went to Makriyialos as a child and remembered wonferdul Cretan hospitality as something found in few other places in the world – Maria and her fabulous daughter Debbie keep this tradition alive. In fact the whole of Markiyialos is full of wonferdul characters whose want to chat, be friendly and hopefully make your world that little bit more blissful than it already is.The location of Maria’s apartments can’t be beaten – we stayed in one of the studios with with the big, romantic (shared) balcony overlooking the sea and then also in one of the apartments which – as Debbie described – are pretty much patio, garden, beach. You sleep with the sound of the waves and wake to the sun.As a child I was given sweets, peanuts and every kind of attention: as adults we were fed home-made moussaka, given fresh tomatoes that tasted like no tomatoes have ever tasted before or since, local olives and olive oils by Maria and a parting present of Oregano that is currently perfuming my kitchen and reminding me daily of what I have lost by ever leaving. Manos, in the nearest supermarket has an interesting line in phallic candles and a memory that stretches back decades and he still gives you the sweets. Try Petras taverna for some of the best food I have ever had and say hello to Vaggelis at the end of the harbour. It won’t be long, hopefully, before I am back again.Downsides? They were so very few – the kitchen could have had a few more utensils, pots and pans and a kettle – the Greeks and the English have a cultural devide over tea – but I understand this is being dealt with. Then there were some serious beasties like the mozzies but you develop ways of coping and it’s a small price to pay for the heaven of it all. This is the way things are in Greece and if you have any sense you will book now because Maria’s repeat customers keep piling up and it won’t be long before we’re struggling to find a space in these lovely apartments where the world is kept at bay by the peace and beauty. It’s also unbeatable value. Book me in Debbie and Maria – I’m coming back as soon as I possibly can.Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple

  1. RogerTime, April 3, 2012 at 11:02 am Stopping at Marias is more than just a holiday it is the real greek excerianpe you just cant buy during our stay we helped the family collect the grapes for this years wine meeting lots of wonderfull greek people and enjoying many glasses of rackie which is a Greek tradition i found extreemly agreable!And then meeting Marias father riding through the olive gove sidesaddle on his donkey and then helping him to tread the grapes with of course a few glasses of rackie afterwards theseare excerianpes are the real greece you hope you can find but rarely excerianpe it, this is the second time we have stopped at Marias and yet again Maria makes you feel more than just a guest she always makes us feel that we are part of marias family. It was a wrench having to leave after yet again a wonderfull holiday and i do feel a little bit of hearts are always left with maria and her wonderfull family

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