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1225 I St. NW, Suite 600 | Washington, DC 20005| P: 202-347-9203 ex. 414 | [email protected]
Center for Responsible Travel Transforming the Way the World Travels
CREST Charter Club Trip to Crete, Greece: The Cuisine, Culture, and Nature of the Isle of Crete
6-Day Program for CREST by Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries September 19 - 25, 2016
An experiential learning program featuring culinary experiences, culture,
and nature of Crete in collaboration with local Responsible Travel practitioners.
Center for Responsible Travel www.responsibletravel.org
Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries
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Welcome to Crete! The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) is hosting this unique responsible travel trip to Crete, organized and led by Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries. CREST is non-profit organization, with the mission to promote responsible tourism policies and practices so that local communities may thrive and steward their cultural resources and biodiversity. To put this mission into action, this extraordinary experiential learning trip will highlight the unique culture, nature, and – let's not forget – cuisine of the Greek island of Crete, all while benefitting the local people and environment. A CREST staff member will accompany the trip to assist at all times, and the trip will be led by our incomparable organizer, Chef Nikki Rose. Introducing… Resident Seminar Organizer: Nikki Rose
Nikki Rose is a Greek American professional chef, writer and seminar director living in Crete. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked in fine dining, culinary education, journalism and sustainable tourism projects around the world. Her cultural-culinary preservation work began in Washington DC, organizing seminars featuring Certified Master Chefs from the White House, The Ritz, The Notter School and embassies. Chef Rose has contributed to books, academic conferences, consultancy projects, and major media outlets focusing on cuisine, heritage preservation and sustainable tourism. Her recent published papers: Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Food and Gastronomy; and Cambridge Scholars, Meeting the Challenges of Climate Change to Tourism. Rose’s book, "Crete: The Roots of the Mediterranean Diet," highlights over 15 years of her work in Crete.
Chef Rose is founder of Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries “School without Walls,” an award-winning program for best practices in Responsible Travel. Rose formed CCS in 1997 to help provide tangible support to residents working on action programs to protect their cultural and natural heritage. Teachers in the CCS Network include resident university professors, archaeologists, botanists, ecologists/mountaineers, professional chefs, fishers, organic farmers-producers, vintners and sustainable tourism/community-based tourism practitioners. CCS organizes a range of dynamic, accredited seminars for academic institutions, health and tourism professionals and has hosted over 3,000 students, teachers, researchers and journalists to date. Rose/CCS has received numerous awards from National Geographic, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN-World Tourism Forum for Peace and Sustainable Development, World Travel and Tourism Council, and is featured in National Geographic, NPR, WSJ, The New York Times, Lonely Planet, Archaeology Magazine, Australian Gourmet Traveller, France 24, TV New Zealand, and O'Globo Brasil.
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Throughout this experiential trip, attendees will meet over 20 resident specialists on-site for presentations and tours:
Archaeological and historic sites
Nature reserves, organic farms, vineyards and fishing docks
Organic farmers' markets and open-air markets
Traditional villages, tavernas, and artisan food production facilities
Four distinctly different cooking demos or classes featuring fresh, local and organic ingredients CCS Network Resident Specialists (brief listing, subject to change)
Licensed historians for private tours of significant historic sites
Botanists from University of Crete, Natural History Museum
Specialists of Wild Plants in Cuisine and Herbal Medicine
Agronomist, PhD, Agrobiodiversity
Chef-Proprietor, Author, Traditional Cuisine
Chef-Proprietor, Upscale Cretan Cuisine, Organic Farmer, Olive Oil Producer
Neurologist, Food as Medicine Connections
Traditional Chefs, Bakers, Artisan Food Producers
Award-Winning Sustainable Community-Based Tourism Practitioners Award-Winning Organic Farmers, Vintners, Olive Oil Producers
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A Brief History of Crete, Greece The isle of Crete is credited as the birthplace of the first civilization in Europe. The Minoan Civilization flourished from about 2600 BC until 1150 BC. The Minoans had significant naval power and commercial contact with ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and other ancient civilizations in the region. They exported olive oil, wine, herbs, currants, wool, textiles, and dyes. Imports were precious stones, copper, ivory, silver, gold, and tin used in the production of bronze alloys. The Minoans also exchanged artistic ideas and techniques with their trading partners, as evident in artwork, transport vessels (elaborately designed amphora), and precious metal production.
Women played a powerful role in society, as evidenced by archaeological findings and deities worshiped at the time. The respect and protection of nature and her food sources also played a central role in society through religious beliefs/mythology, art and ceremonies. In mythology, Zeus was raised in Crete and there are many mountain sanctuaries in his honor with artifacts providing information of the beliefs and rituals of our ancestors. After the collapse of the Minoan civilization, a series of invasions, occupation, raiders and traders through the ages has shaped the cultural, architectural and natural heritage of Crete. As the southernmost island in Europe, Crete's strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, and mild climate for agricultural production made Crete an ideal location and target for invasion and occupation. Crete succeeded in joining Greece in 1913, after a series of rebellions against the Ottoman Empire and also rejecting pressure by the great powers of Europe to consider autonomy.
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Crete's diverse ecosystems, rugged mountain terrain, majestic coastal vistas, intriguing geology, botany, biodiversity, music, literature and heroic resistance movements throughout time, all encompass the distinctive character of the isle and its people. Several historic figures were born in Heraklion, Crete, including the world-famous painter, Doménikos Theotokópoulos (El Greco, 1541-1614). As was Nikos Kazantzakis, the celebrated Greek writer (1883-1957), whose works include Zorba the Greek, Captain Michalis, and The Last Temptation of Christ. Known as “The Garden of Greece,” agriculture plays an integral role in everyday life, emphasizing our interrelationship between food, nature, culture and community.
Modern Crete is blessed with a fascinating history spanning over four thousand years, natural beauty and an abundance of healthy food choices, both wild and cultivated. There is much to discover and enjoy. There is also much to protect. Beyond the seaside resorts and imposing limestone cliffs are people striving to preserve their heritage -- ecologists, historians, sustainable organic farmers, artisan food producers, beekeepers, fishers, chefs and many others. They are striving to maintain what many of us have lost touch with – a connection between their community and nature. Their knowledge of sustainable living practices is beneficial to the global community. Many people around the world are striving to “return to the land,” while many people in rural Crete have never left the land. But modern society beckons and rural communities are abandoned or developed. Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries Educational Network (CCS) introduces visitors/students to residents like Yiorgos, who maintains his small family farm much like his ancestors, using sustainable organic methods. He refuses to buy food from outside sources and even collects salt from a rocky beach nearby. “The chicken I eat must first dine at my house,” he says. Crete is also the center of the Mediterranean Diet studies. The renowned traditional healthy cuisine of Crete is not a phenomenon; it’s a matter of respecting the land and the bounties it provides. Every great chef will tell you that they are only as good as their ingredients. The foundation of the Mediterranean Diet concepts, which has been deemed by UNESCO as
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“Intangible Heritage” requiring protection, is fresh, local, organic food and a clean environment. Many wild plants are used in cooking and natural medicine, which CCS seminar attendees discover during botanical hikes in the countryside and cooking demonstrations. Both residents and visitors benefit from community-based preservation programs. Careful consideration and strong alliances are required to sustain these programs. Residents are investing their time and money to share valuable knowledge and real, safe food. CCS offers visitors/students a rare opportunity to discover the heart of Crete and obtain information that can enrich their lives.
General Information about Crete, Greece The isle of Crete, Greece is 8,336 sq. Km. (6.3% of the total area of the Greek territory). It is located at the southern edge of the Aegean Sea, about 160 sq. Km. from the mainland. The length of the island is 256 Km. Its largest width is 57 Km and smallest width is 12 Km. The percentage of mountainous area is 49%. The population in Crete is 621,340, representing 5.76% of the population of the Greek territory. 2010 GDP of Crete amounted to 10,955 million Euro (4.9% of the national GDP). The branch “Trade and Tourism” has the most important contribution to the added value of the products of Crete, with 4,589 million Euro. The unemployment rate is about 23.7%, but much higher for the youth.
Annually, Crete attracts about 2.8 million charter tourists during the season from April-October. Because of the high level of tourism activity, there is a large proportion of seasonal working and self-employment. The island has remarkable natural, cultural and historical resources. Although the majority of tourists today are interested seaside holidays, rather than cultural heritage. Average weather conditions in the Heraklion area in mid-September: High 26C/79F. Low 19C/66F. Sea Temperature 25C/78F. Chance of rain is usually minimal but less predictable these days. Mountain villages can be much cooler, especially after nightfall.
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Arrival in the afternoon 7:00 – 10:00 pm 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Monday, September 19 Heraklion Area: Orientation, Introduction to the Culture and Cuisine of Crete Pick up at Heraklion airport, travel to a boutique hotel in the city of Heraklion (about 15 minutes away). Orientation and welcome dinner at a taverna. Discussion with Chef Rose and taverna chefs on Crete's culinary heritage and primary ingredients used in traditional regional cuisine. Tuesday, September 20 Archaeology, Minoan History, Local Seafood, Fisheries Industry Issues Tour the Minoan Palace of Knossos nearby with a resident licensed historian. Overview of Minoan cultural and culinary heritage. Tour the historic city of Heraklion, the archaeological museum, open air market and fishing port. Lunch at seafood taverna.
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10:30 – 2:30 pm
5:30 – 10:30 pm
Wednesday, September 21 Organic Farmers' Market; Historic Food and Wine Routes; Modern Village Life and Foodways; Cooking Class with Chef Rose Tour Heraklion organic farmers' market with Chef Rose. Meet the area's organic and biodynamic farmers. Travel to our next base in the foothills. The region is renowned for wine and olive oil production since the Minoan period. The village has several cafes, tavernas, traditional and modern bakeries, butcher shops, cheese shops and traditional product stores to explore. Walking tour of the village with a resident licensed historian. Discover cultural activities and regional ingredients that have shaped local cuisine through the ages. Casual cooking class with Chef Rose utilizing fresh, organic ingredients acquired from our adventures.
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9:30 am - 3:30 pm 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm 11:00 am - 4:30 pm pm
Thursday, September 22 Botanical Hike, Biodiversity, Culinary Medicine; Minoan Agricultural-Culinary Practices Join a resident botanist for a botanical hike in the foothills of the historic Mount Iouchtas, ancient sanctuary to Zeus. Lunch and presentations by specialists in culinary medicine and agroecology. Cooking demo on Minoan cooking techniques and ingredients used in ancient Crete. Enjoy the results during dinner.
Friday, September 23 Biodynamic Farm Tour, Cooking with and Innovative Pro Chef Tour a biodynamic/organic farm to find out about cultivation methods that shape our cuisine. Gather ingredients for class. A centuries old “farm-to-table” practice in Crete. Cooking demo, olive oil tasting, and lunch with a noted innovative chef-proprietor.
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12:00 - 1:00 pm 1:30 – 2:30 pm 3:00 - 4:30 pm 5:00 – 9:00 pm
Saturday, September 24 Traditional Music, Olive Oil, Organic Wine, Traditional Cooking Class, Rustic Breads and Pastries
Travel to an olive oil production factory for a tour, discussion and tasting with the owners-producers. Travel to the Labyrinth Musical Instrument Museum and Workshop in Houdetsi (15 minutes away). The Labyrinth Founder is a renowned musician, Ross Daly. View the collection of over 250 rare traditional string instruments from around the world. Discussion regarding Crete’s oral history; rich and distinctive poetry and music that is an integral part of everyday life, including culinary festivals. Visit an excellent boutique organic winery nearby for a private tour and tasting with the vintners. Their gorgeous winery and award-winning wines make for a fantastic experience. Travel to a small village nearby for a home organic garden tour, cooking class and dinner with a highly regarded chef-proprietor and cookbook author.
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Sunday, September 25: Travel Day. Check out of rooms by noon. Travel to Heraklion airport (20 minutes away) will be arranged by CCS. Kalo Taxidi! Note: This program is subject to change until registration is confirmed and due to weather and other unforeseen conditions.
Estimated Contact Hours with licensed historians, professors and specialists in their field: 40
Cooking Classes or Interactive Demos: 4
Crete’s Culinary Sanctuaries program fees include:
Group support and accompaniment from CREST staff member with responsible travel expertise.
Ground transportation for the full group from/to Heraklion airport on arrival and departure dates and to/from accommodation and scheduled presentations. Transportation provided by professional transportation services, taxis or public bus service, depending on the activity.
CCS guides to and from accommodation and/or designated meetings places for all scheduled excursions.
Expert Licensed Guide Fees, resident specialist fees
Entrance fees to historic sites, museums, and food production facilities
Private tours and tastings with the owners-operators of an organic winery, olive oil producers.
Scheduled cooking classes, demonstrations and meals at excellent tavernas in rural areas.
Tips for programmed activities.
6 nights’ shared accommodation per details below. Location based on availability at time of registration.
Daily breakfasts, and scheduled lunches (or meze-tastings at food production sites and wineries) and scheduled dinners. All menus are tailored to the group, prearranged by Chef Rose, featuring a wide variety of fresh and local specialties. Cuisine presented is family-style to include specialties of the house and region. Scheduled meals include bottled water only. During all tours and hikes, attendees are required to purchase/carry their own water.
Breakdown of Meals included: All breakfasts – continental (Cretan-style) on Days 2 thru 6 5 Lunches (or meze during several tours-tastings) 4 Dinners (3 preceded by cooking classes or demos) Accommodation: The City of Heraklion, 2 Nights: During the first segment of the trip the group will stay in a small boutique hotel in the city of Heraklion. Based on availability at the time of reservations, CCS Preferred lodging in Heraklion is Lato Boutique Hotel. www.lato.gr Historic Village near Heraklion, 4 Nights: During the second segment of the trip we'll stay in a beautiful historic mountain village near Heraklion. Private double to quadruple occupancy lodging (or single occupancy for an additional rate) is in restored homes or wineries converted into unique visitor lodging, traditionally furnished, some with patios/gardens and kitchenettes, TV’s, fireplaces, heating and air conditioning. This allows travelers to have private apartments/cottages in the village within a few blocks of others in their group. It also allows opportunities to participate in local life. The village has about half a dozen tavernas, cafes, bakeries, traditional products, a post office, and small supermarkets. Activities and accommodation are coordinated with CCS and the community-based sustainable tourism office managers, local travel agents or licensed guides in each location.