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Pictures and foods are credit to the Cretes friend SOMMELIER and CULINARY EDUCATOR AND CHEF Suzanne Vandyck during her last two CULINARY & WINE ADVENTURES ON THE ISLAND OF CRETE. Suzanne Vandyck offer a food and wine experiences that make her guests fall in love with Ccretan culture, the foods and above all the people. Suzanne Vandyckmakes groups limited to only 6 people to allow intimate and private travel experience


In the Cretan kitchen all foods based on Goat cheese (Chevre cheese) called “Mizithra” (salted, sour or unsalted) are very popular.
One of them are the “Mizithropitakia” little semicircular Mizithra cheese pies considered more as dessert which are fried and thanks to the imagination of the Cretan women the result in these little cheese pies is as pretty as it is savoury!
There are many ways of preparing these cheese pies and according the region having different names as well as “kalitsounia”, “nerates mizithropites “ , “agnopites”, “sarikopites”, “sfakianopites” depending the shape they give but here we follow one of them the kalitsounia from Heraklion region.
We serve them with honey or sugar and cinnamon
I am George Portokalakis a passionate about Cretan food and culture and love to share this passion with my guests.
After spending over 40 years in the travel industry and cooking business, I would tell anyone willing to listen about the wonders of Cretan cuisine, the family warmth of the Cretan people, share the delights of Cretan cuisine and culture with few people who appreciate good, fresh, natural and healthy cooking and love slow food!
In areas little known to foreign tourism, you will learn the art of Cretan cuisine in a delightful country setting. Your instructors will be my self and native farm house ladies of the near region.
You will taste the best Cretan traditional foods - Vegetarian and non - that Crete has to offer and you will experience a way of life that very few foreigners will have the chance to experience
The packages we give, offer you the opportunity to enjoy the regional cuisine of Crete, as well as learn to prepare dishes from native farm house ladies and myself.

The instigator and creator was the famous American professor Ancel Keys, the Mr. Cholesterol in the way Americans called him as he was the first to connect “nutrition-heart” and started the research in the late 1940s and specifically in 1947.
In the research he included Greece after the initiative and the inducement of the Greek professor Mr Aravanis in 1954 when it was agreed to include Greece as it had some special nutritional characteristics.
In the research it was also included Italy, Holland, the Former Yugoslavia and now Serbia, Finland and Japan.
For Greece Crete and Corfu were chosen.
In Crete it was chosen a group of 620 residents in the rural area of Kastelli Pediados 50km away from Heraklion where their nutrition followed a typical diet of rural people with a big consumption of oil together with hard agricultural work that is body exercise on a daily basis and a year later a second group of other 620 residents in Corfu in a similar region 45km away from the Corfu city with almost the same diet habits.

Produced and created by talented Mr. Tarre Mike guest and dear friend of George Portokalakis founder of Porto Club travel services

Mike had the kindness to give Porto Club the authorization to upload this film on You Tube so anyone could see the beauty of Greece and the hospitality of the Greek people.

Tarre family spend 14 days in Greece 4 days Athens and Mainland, 7 days the island of Crete and 3 days in Santorini.

Beginning their journey in Greece, Tarre family, (Mike, Judy and their grand daughter Erica) was greeted by the Porto Club Athens ground travel partners and under the guidance and care of Porto Club Tours.

Porto Club Tours is a partner of Active Gourmet Holidays, one of the largest culinary travel companies in the USA.

Through Active Gourmet Holidays, travelers can discover the best Foodie and Leisure secrets Greece has to offer – and Porto Club Tours is definitely one of the best ways to experience Greece.

If in your future plans is a visit to Greece, you have to book with Active Gourmet Holidays and the local Greek partner Porto Club Tours, both, really knows how to treat their guests!
Contact Active Gourmet Holidays at and Porto Club tours at, you won’t regret it!

Discover Matala: Then and Now
When I think of Crete, countless beautiful and colourful sceneries and landscapes run through my head: the wind and waves in Rethymno, ride through the mountains and winding road to Elafonisi beach, the sunset on the Falassarna beach, adorable pink sands, crystal clear blue sea, more than delicious Greek food, relaxing boat ride to paradise beach and lagoon Balos, numerous olive trees beside the road, unreal atmosphere on the Matala beach.

14 days / 13 nights
(For One Person, Double Occupancy based on 2 people)
Single use: + $884
A R T I S T   B I O G R A P H Y
The Cretan icon painter Dimitrios E. Manousakis born and grew up in Heraklion, Crete. Since his young age he showed a talent for Art, mixed media and especially painting. At the age of 15 Icon painting gain him. He began his studies at the Cretan Byzantine school of icon painting and at the same time was experimenting with various ways of painting, as well as studying them. (Icons, frescoes, paintings, portraits etc.) Always experimenting, he traveled for some time as a seaman in ships throughout the world. He extended his experiences and art techniques studying icon painting at the Mount Athos and other parts of Greece. Sometime later his dwellings stop.  He return back to Cretegot married and sets up his own icon painting workshop. During his pursuits he got a great knowledge of wood and woodcarving,
13 nights hotel accommodation / double occupancy on bed & breakfast basis (fine located A Class 4**** & 5***** hotels ), 12 days English speaking private driver, 12 days private A/C vehicleFuel, Road taxes, Drivers accommodation and meals, All transportations Athens and Crete, Flight and ferry tickets in Greece, All breakfasts all lunches and dinners as per program
   Included in the price
§         Accommodation Athens double occupancy at DLX 5***** hotel for 2 nights (day 1 and 13)
§         ATHENS: Return transfers from/to Athens airport
§         Athens city tour including Acropolis in the morning  (private car, driver and tour guide)
§         Flight tickets ATHENS / HERAKLION - CRETE
§         CRETE: Transportation port / hotel by arrival and hotel / port by departure
§         Accommodation at the Thalori Traditional Complex in a twin/double room house for 5 nights
§         Accommodation at the Veneto luxury suites **** at Rethymnon double occupancy for 1 night
§         Cretan cookery lessons on day 3,4,5,and 6
§         A visit to archaeological sites of Gortys, Phaestos and Knossos (guiding/entrance fees are extra)
§         A visit to the women’s co-operative work shop of Marathos
§         A visit to the monasteries of Arkadi and Odigitrias
§         A visit to Argyroupolis natural springs and Matala caves and Zaros Lake
§         A gastronomic walking tour of Heraklion
§         A gastronomic walking tour of Chania
§         A visit to local bee-keeping honey producers and tasting of produce
§         A visit to local wineries and tasting of wine
§         All transport to and from the excursions
§         All cooking materials and ingredients
§         Breakfast each morning
§         Dinner on days 1-13
§         Lunch on days 2-13
§         Dinner on board on day 8
§         Dinner accompanied by bottled table water, and bottle of local wine every 2 persons 
§         Ferry tickets CHANIA – CRETE / PIRAEUS at DLX or A2 Cabin (double outside cabin with shower and WC)
§         Chartered vehicle with English speaking driver for the cultural drives in Crete for 6 days
§         Chartered vehicle with English speaking driver for the drives to Nafplion / Olympia / Delphi / Kalambaka / Athens for 5 days
§         Fuel and road taxes
§         Drivers accommodation and meals
§         Accommodation Nafplion double occupancy at 4**** hotel for 1 night
§         Accommodation Olympia double occupancy at 4**** hotel for 1 night
§         Accommodation Delphi double occupancy at 4**** hotel for 1 night
§         Accommodation Kalambaka double occupancy at 4**** hotel for 1 night
§         5 breakfasts / 5 lunches / 5 dinners when in Athens and mainland during the Classical Greece tour
Prices are based on two sharing a double room / house, a single supplement applies for those traveling solo 


Arrival Athens. Reception at the airport. Transportation to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel. Accommodation Royal Olympic 5***** Athens (Dinner)

Athens city tour Morning will come and pick you up and do Athens city tour including Acropolis and the new museum of Athens. End around 1.-1.30 PM. Break for lunch and transportation to the airport and flight to Heraklion – CreteUpon arrival at the Heraklion airport, you will be met by your Cretan host and driver George and before being driven for the 70 minute transfer to the Thalori Resort first take you to local restaurant for dinner with a variety of local food. Accommodation Thalori resort. (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Day 3. CRETE:
South Central Crete: Culture, Food and History
Enjoy a rich breakfast and ready to explore the south-central part of the island with your host George Today we’ll visit Gortys, the ruined capital city of the Roman province Including an impressive theatre, the Basilica of St. Titus the eponymous saint converted the island to Christianity and
was the first bishop, the Odeon and the Law code. Ending the visit drive west and the palace  of Phaestos the second most significant archaeological site of the Minoan civilization  Phaestos is located at the southern region of the prefecture of Heraklion in the valley of  Messaras. The site of the ancient city is very impressive and the palace compound, although not as extensively restored as the compound of Knossos, offers a detailed insight of the everyday life of such a historically remote period. According to mythology the king of  Phaestos was Radamanthes brother of king Minos of Knossos, and superior judge of the underworld.
Stop off in the fishing village of Kokkinos Pyrgos for lunch and enjoy local specialties – or freshly caught seafood 
at the sea front restaurant of Kokkinos Pyrgos  After lunch you’ll head back to the Thalori complex and head to the kitchen for your first cooking class. The today’s cooking class based on the fish and seafood that was purchased earlier in the day. Fish soup with rice in egg and lemon, the famous KAKAVIA (fisherman fish soup), fish with tomato and onion sauce baked in the oven, shrimps “saganaki” in tomato sauce, wine and feta cheese and cuttlefish in pot with fennel or octopus stew in tomato and onions are a few of the cooking menu items to create a  delicious dinner to enjoy with the other guests  and will be accompanied with copious amounts of pure, homemade local wine and raki. Accommodation Thalori resort. (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Day 4. CRETE:
Crete: the caves of Matala, the monastery of Odigitrias lunch with locals and the Moussaka cooking class
Breakfast, slow drive to the monastery of Odigitrias or Xopateras. Rich history back to the Turkish occupation. Centre of revolutionary against conquerors. Beautiful frescoes. Next stop the beach and caves of Matala has by far the best-known beach in Heraklion province. These are believed to be ancient tombs first used by Romans or early Christians to more recently inhabit by a sizeable hippie community. Modern artists as Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, and Joni Mitchell, amongst others.  Lunch in Matala at sea front restaurant with local specialties. On the way back we buy fresh fish and sea food that will be on our tonight’s cooking class and dinnerThis evening’s hands-on class focuses on vegetables and George will teach you preparation techniques that transform basic ingredients into the stars of the table, full of richness colors and flavors. Tonight’s hands-on class is based on a variety of vegetables and minced meat with prep techniques that transforms basic ingredients into a full table of colour, flavours, variety and richness. Moussaka, Aubergines Papoutsakia, fried vegetables in tomato sauce, smoked eggplant and Pastitsio (the Greek Version of Mac and Cheese),After the class sit down as a group and enjoy the meal you’ve learned to cook accompanied by local wine. Accommodation Thalori resort. (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Day 5. CRETE:
Crete: the lake of Zaros, small winery and wine tasting, and joining lunch with locals, Beehives and Art pastry at the women cooperative of Marathos village
After a rich breakfast, we drive north direction the lake of Zaros. Beautiful environment. Have a break for a while for a cup of coffee and drive east north to Sivas a village near Heraklion. We visit small well known family winery, depending the season we may have the chance to join the way they produce the Cretan Raki. We taste Raki and home made unique wines and spend few hours with the locals join them on their daily life and try various home made plates. After lunch drive North West to a place 20 km far from the city of Heraklion; Beautiful virgin nature is perfect pasture for bees. Old traditional bee keeping methods ensure ecological, clean and free from any additives honey and other bee products. First honey of the season is collected from spring thyme blossoms this golden
yellow honey is perfect source of nature’s ingredients. We do a visit to a small local café / restaurant run by the owners since 1949. The owners (two brothers) have been beekeepers since all their lifetime taking the business from their father, therefore, we taste honeycombs straight from the beehive and learn everything about bees and beekeeping as well as having a kind of pancakes we call  them –tiganites – deep in honey and small cheese pies with honey in company with local wine and the Cretan snap – Raki -. You will definitely feel the positive effect to your body and soul.
A visit to a women cooperative at the near village of Marathos where they make the very special – unique art pastry small and bigger round breads – called XOMPLIASTO KOULOURI – and the forgotten monastery of Halepa. Bbreak for lunch at the small village of Drossia and drive back to Thalori for the 3rd cooking class. This hands-on class will take you through the process of making stuffed tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, and aubergines…as well as  Dolmadakia (little stuffed wraps) with vine leaves, sorrels or pumpkin flowers. These all will be enjoyed as our dinner and will be accompanied with copious amounts of pure, homemade local wine and raki. Accommodation Thalori resort. (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Day 6. CRETE:
Crete: Knossos, Walking Heraklion, 4th cooking class
Today we visit the palace of Knossos. When visiting the island of Crete someone must see the ancient palace of Knossos, built 3.500 years ago.  Ending the visit of Knossos drive to Heraklion. A walk in the heart of the city of Heraklion with stops at small shops, tasting special cheeses with a shot of raki and having lunch at a small Mezedopolion is a wonderful way to round out your week on the Island of CreteWe will walk the streets of the city and meet nutritional wanderings elevating the palate to heaven!! Will explore unique tastes on this walking tour of Heraklion. Will join the real daily lifestyle the people of Heraklion live. The day will start from the best small pastry shop in the city. Gloria: Artistic feeling+ imagination+ pure fresh ingredients = fascinating for your palate. We taste the “Galatoboureko” custard cream and filo dough pastry in syrup and “trigono” cheese cream and filo dough pastry in syrup. Incredible taste never have taste anything like that!! Walk the central market and stop for an OUZO with MEZE (Small bites accompanies the spirit) at one of the traditional Mezedopolion of the street. We will be part of the people walking / talking / arguing. Visit the cathedral of the city Saint Minas, and then the Morozini fountain at the heart of the city, the Venetian church of Saint Marcos / now gallery, the church of Saint Titus. Break for lunch at city center with variety of local specialties and drive back to the resort. Get ready for the last cooking class which is Pork bites in tomato sauce in oven with orzo, and Drunken Pork bites cooked in wine and oregano are wonderful appetizers paired with Raki. Boneless pork with celery and egg and lemon sauce, Oven baked pork or Lamb with potatoes called pseeto, Cretan sausages in tomato sauce and chilli type hot Cretan peppers also on the menu. Dinner will be accompanied with copious amounts of pure, homemade local wines. Accommodation Thalori resort. (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Day 7. CRETE:
Crete: the Arkadi monastery, City of Rethymnon and waters of Argyroupolis
After a rich breakfast, you will enjoy a slow drive through the vineyards and small villages of the region. You will visit the 16th century monastery of Arkadi, the small village of Margarites popular for the ceramics they produce and a slow drive to the Water of Argyroupolis where lunch will be served with a variety of Cretan vegetable and cheese specialties and abundance of grilled meats. After lunch, drive back to the city of Rethymnon where every street will take you on a journey through history. Venetian and Turkish buildings have become small restaurants, cafés and shops. Your walk down the narrow streets will take you to small tourists’ shops and coffee houses where you can mingle with locals. We accommodate at the beautiful restored 16th century palazzo turned to one of the most beautiful small boutique hotels in Crete and we dine to the famous restaurant of the hotel. (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

The bread of Georgioupolis and region of Chania Culinary tour and city walk
After a full breakfast buffet, you will depart direction Chania. First break at the small sea front village of Georgioupolis where they are baking a special smoked taste bread for last 100 years every day including Saturday, Sunday and Holidays, and depending on the season, Winter or Summer they making between 600 to 1000 loaves per day with a consistent quality, definitely not the supermarket sliced loaf but proper bread in the old tradition. We buy and taste this bread. Keep driving west to the city of Chania  The town market of Chania dating back to the 1900’s is a cross-shaped gallery that houses over 65 food stores, presenting fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, breads, legumes and anything else you may want such as cafés, restaurants and shopping. Lunch will be in Spaltzia (Turkish quarter during the Turkish occupation) at an old harbour restaurant featuring a variety of local specialties and sea foods. Later in the afternoon we drive to the port of Souda (port of Chania) and embark the ferry for the night ferry trip to Piraeus. Check in our cabins (DLX or A2 as per boats availability. Dinner or board. Accommodation on board (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Arrival port of Piraeus early in the morning. Break for breakfast on our way and departure direction Peloponnese. First stop for a coffee break at the Canal of Corinth. The tour will continue to Epidavros for visiting the Ancient Theatre. Break for lunch. Our next stop will be at Mycenae for visiting the famous Palace, the Lions Gate and the Tomb of King Agamemnon. Passing by the Bay of Nafplion, we will arrive in the picturesque town. Dinner and overnight in Nafplion. Accommodation Nafplion at a 4**** hotel (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Driving through the central Peloponnese, Arcadia, as well as the town of Tripoli and Megalochori . A visit at the little village of Vasta to visit the little church of Agia TheodoraThis little church was build somewhere between the 11th and the 12th century. This church has 17 trees on the roof, each tree weight over 1000 kgr.
The ground isn't solid enough for those trees to be placed. Another unexplained phenomenon is the underground water which flows from the church and beyond. But the most interesting part is that nowhere you'll find a root from the trees inside the church. Many researches has been made, even with X rays to find wherever the roots are inside the walls of the church, but its not. Additionally the trees heights are almost 30 meters!
 Now imagine a tiny church not more than 3x2 meters having 17 trees on the roof of each weights 1 ton (or maybe more if you calculate also the weight of the leaves for each season, and weather conditions such wind and storms), 30 meters height, since 12th century, without any physical explanation or damage. That’s got to be a miracle!! Keep driving west an hour later arrive in Olympia, the cradle of the Olympic Games. There you will have the opportunity to visit the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus and the museum. Dinner and overnight in Olympia. Accommodation Olympia (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Departure from the hotel for Delphi through Patras, the capital of the Peloponnese. Cross by the bridge from Rio to Antirion and passing by Nafpaktos (Lepanto) and having break for lunch at a sea side small beautiful restaurant. Keep driving and make a stop at the seaside areas of the beautiful Galaxidi . Arrive in Delphi. Dinner and overnight at Delphi. Accommodation Delphi (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Delphi was truly a Pan-Hellenic site for the ancient Greeks; they all gathered here to celebrate Apollo and to get practical advice from the Pythia, the priestess. Aside from its historical importance, Delphi is a wondrously beautiful place. Morning visit the museum and the ruins of Delphi. Drive north direction the holly rocks of Meteora. Arrive afternoon. Accommodation Kalambaka the little city at the slope of Meteora. (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Meteora is a must-see on any trip to Greece. Here are some of the most ancient, active monasteries on all of Greece, perched miraculously atop the mountains along the Pinios River. Their history goes back to the 14th century when the monks sought refuge in the Cliffside caves then fled higher to build the original wooden shelters, later transformed into monasteries. They are veritable Byzantine museums exhibiting superb icons, old manuscripts and unique mosaics and frescoes. Visit the women monastery of St. Andreas. Break for lunch and drive direction south to Athens. Arrive late afternoon. (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)

Breakfast and transportation to the airport for the flight back home (Breakfast)
4 days / 3 nights
Why see Greece from behind a window? Experience the life.
Wall Painting- Frescoes: Wall paintings of Byzantine Churches
Excursions / visits to selected forgotten churches in country side, small villages and monasteries to view the art of wall painting created hundreds of years ago, survived through centuries, wars, storms, earthquakes and the elements of nature  in combination with culture, good company, and very good food fresh – natural home made by local house ladies following old traditional methods according the healthy  CRETAN MEDITERRANEAN  NUTRITION