Jamie Oliver

Cretan Thyme... Food Lovers Holidays

JUL 08 @ 14:48

by cretanthyme

The Cretan Experience

Discover the secrets and joys of cooking delicious local dishes, using fresh seasonal ingredients in a relaxed and fun way. Our week-long culinary holiday is designed for those who love good food, wine, good company and nature as much as we do!

The program includes, cooking classes, all meals following the cooking lessons including complimentary wine, raki or soft drinks, Cretan wine and cheese tastings and visits to local markets.

For full itinerary please visit our web page:

The Cretan Diet

The term “traditional Mediterranean diet” is used to describe the dietary habits that were typical in certain regions of the Mediterranean in the early 1960’s, such as Crete, some areas in the rest of Greece and southern Italy.

In the last 15 years, biological, clinical and epidemiological studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is much more than a diet low in saturated fats.
A typical daily menu includes 8 portions of coarsely processed cereals and cereal products, such as whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, husked rice, 3 portions of fruit, 6 portions of vegetables and greens, olive oil as the main additive fat, and 2 portions of dairy products. Protein is consumed in the form of lean meats, typically fish, seafood, poultry and rabbit, and occasionally kid and lamb, while wine is daily consumed in moderation.

Key feature of the Cretan diet is the high consumption of extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil has monounsaturated fatty acids, which decrease blood cholesterol levels and protect from cancer (Simopoulos & Robinson, 1998) and cell degeneration, due to its Ω-3 (linolenic) and Ω-6 (linoleic) fatty acids, concentration of vitamins E and A and more than 600 antioxidative substances.

Wine consumption is protects against cancer and degenerative diseases and can decrease mortality rates from coronary diseases by 15 to 60% (Cordon 1983, Rimm 1991).

The plentiful fruits, vegetables and pulses in the Cretan diet, apart from their nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and inorganic elements), also consist of a large number of flavonoids. Flavonoids (particularly flavones and flavonols) are well known to have a beneficial effect on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

But Cretan diet is not only about food, it is also about the culture, the landscape and the good company to enjoy it. We thought that with a little help from a friend, many people can learn its basic features and take it back home.

The Villa

Our villa is set in an intimate, well-kept little village named Lastros. You can let your mind drift walking in its picturesque little alleyways, dotted with flowering yards and colourful doors and enjoy the vistas of the surrounding mountains, villages and old churches dating back to the Venetian times in the 16th century. Known as “Little Paris”, Lastros is a village loved by its people and famous for its fiestas, so lay back and sip the ambience of local life.

It is situated in Lasithi prefecture, East Crete, away from mass tourism or pretentious local folklore. It is located within 30 km range from the 3 main cities of Agios Nikolaos, Sitia and Ierapetra, each with its own charm. It also gives you the opportunity to explore their blue flag beaches, each with their own character, the sand dunes of East Crete, the breezy coves of the North and the endless warmth of the beautiful South. If you like the mountains and you are up for hiking there is plenty to do on your doorstep. The Tsigouni gorge at the North of Lastros is an observatory for birds of prey, and depending on the time of the year you can see crocus and narcissus flowers or collect local herbs. Lastros sits in an area of high archaeological interest and it is a hangout for local and international archaeologists. Take a 10 minute ride towards Mochlos beach and swim or catch a boat ride across to Mochlos Island. It is one of the most important burial sites of the early Minoan period and in the evenings you will find plenty of archaeologists at Kochillia restaurant to tell you all about it. So have we found a little gem for you or what?

Just over 1-hour drive by car from Heraklion airport, you will enjoy the ride overlooking an endless succession of coves and islands off the northern coast of Crete on your left and the mountainous landscapes peppered with little villages in the distance and even ancient ruins on your right. If you have the chance to stay in Heraklion for a day or two, a visit at Knossos and the archaeological museum is a must even if you are not into archaeology!

About Us

Studying and working in the UK for the past 15 years in academia and Christos in the hotel industry, we wanted to go back home and share our knowledge, experiences and expertise with others. Plus, it was also about time to reconnect with our birthplace. Not to mention that we have missed the sea and the sun so much.

Originally from Crete, I am used to the gastronomy of the place from early age. Crete, food and hospitality go hand-in-hand, and there is nothing more bonding than exploring common grounds during eating and drinking together; trust me I have a PhD on trust building.

Big foodies ourselves and with a flair for cooking, Christos and I have tasted and collected home recipes and personal favourites to showcase over the years, and we have tried them on many occasions with our international friends. So far, we had no complaints from Americans, Australians, English, Germans, Indians, Spanish, Mexicans and even foodie Italians. So, I guess we are doing things right!!

As in every culture, home cooking is quite different from what is served in restaurants and we want you to feel at home. There will be no fancy chef tips and tricks to impress you, but we will not hide the little secrets village aunties told us either, cross my heart and hope to die!


The cost of the week-long program varies from €1100 to €1300 per person (depending on season), based on double occupancy. Single supplement is €200.

Non-Cooking Participants and Kids:
We offer a 30% discounted fee for “tasters” joining in restaurant meals, class meals and excursions, but not participating in any hands-on cooking classes. Please book via email.

To book please visit our website:

Will be happy to meet you in person,

Christos & Tally

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