Showing posts with label agrotourism resort in crete. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agrotourism resort in crete. Show all posts

Monday, February 4, 2013

Get me to the Grove "by VisitGreece Blog"


Greece’s sacred olive harvest is just around the corner, says June Field!
We’re all fanatic about olive oil these days, but ever wondered how it got on your plate?
Time to get amongst the olive groves and witness the harvest. Come mid October, the Greek countryside comes alive as farmers haul out their nets, and lay them out under their precious trees. The harvest lasts through the winter months of November to January, as an exodus of farm hands can be seen coaxing the ripe green fruit with combs on a long stick, while others use hand held motorised rakes.
This winter, the subject of Greece’s sacred oil, has never been more pivotal. As the economic crisis continues, tens of thousands of Greeks are leaving the cities, returning to their ancestral villages in search of jobs to support themselves until the tourists arriving in spring.
While in Crete- Greece’s largest and most southerly island – olives are on everyone’s mind. With over 1.5 million trees and a balmy year round climate, Cretan farmers boast the highest percentage of extra virgin oil, and reputedly the tastiest in the world.
Almost every dish in Crete has at least a few spoonfuls of oil, from the delicious ‘magierevma’ or oven baked dishes like moussaka or giant beans called ‘gigantes’ to cake recipes, or simply drizzled over a wobbly sheeps milk cheese called mizithra.
Amazingly, the average person in Greece consumes around 25 kilos per person (compared to 0.5 in northern Europe or the US). And, Cretans use more oil in their healthy diet than the rest of Greece; explaining their long life spans and lack of heart problems.
Once the fruit is three quarters ripe, it’s time to harvest. Bright and early, around 7am the teams of workers, families and recruits head out into the grove with rods, poles or rakes. The fruit drops on to the nets beneath the trees, ready to be collected. Burlap sacks laid out nearby are filled and loaded up in nearby trucks and taken to the local mills, as fast as possible.
It’s important that the olives are treated carefully, not bruised or left out as it affects the quality, or acidity of the oil. If it’s rainy or windy, the harvest pauses. Grey green leaves glisten brilliantly in the winter sun. Like living art, gnarled trunks peek out from swaying branches groaning with fruit. Those olives are treated like precious cargo.


A break for a picnic lunch takes place in the groves (called ‘agrotima’ or ‘eleonas’) joined by women and children often, then back to the hard grind. The final run to the mill happens around 4pm when the light begins to fade. Full sacks are taken to the mill, at the end of each day for processing.
Each farmer has his sacks labelled carefully, while the olives are loaded into the production line. Firstly the olives are cleaned with water, their leaves and stems removed in a feeding hopper. Next, the olives are pressed, and this resulting oil is called the ‘extra virgin’ which Greece excels at. Over 70% of all oil and olives produced in Greece are extra virgin, or top quality.
The farmer waits for his own oil to emerge, a thick pungent grassy smelling green liquid. Homer called it ‘liquid gold’.
Most farmers will store their oil in a metal tank, and later in dark coloured bottles (the light can reduce quality) but never plastic.
This will go on for several days, depending how many trees or groves they own. There are over 4,600 mills around the country; the majority of them concentrated in Crete, and the Peloponnese.
The commercial growers sell off their oil to the big brands, who distribute it around Greece, while a large slice of it goes off to Italy, remarkably, to be rebottled and branded for export around the world.

This year, the sacred olive groves of goddess Athena could grab a star role in Crete’s year round tourism. Demand for agrotourism is on the increase, and next month a six day tour of the Cretan olive harvest is already being booked up by travellers as far away as Singapore and South Africa.
Eleonas Agrourism resort in Crete, has created an ‘olive harvest tour’ starting in the spring water capital of Zaros Crete, along an emerging slow food and wine trail in the island’s hinterland.
Eleonas’ entrepreneurial owner, Manolis Saridakis is passionate about the environment and the surrounding region of Mt Psiloritis national park.
The locals of Zaros are holding on tight to their local way of life. For them it means growing most of their own food, rearing their own farm animals and sourcing food for the hotel within less than 5 kilometres. ‘We know we have a piece of paradise here. We are 99% full most of the year, our guests tell us that our whole set up is pretty magical.” This influx of gourmet travellers will bring vital spend to the rural economy.
In a recent report, US consulting firm McKinsey predicting that olives can pull Greece out of recession, with a little more organisation and control of the industry. A small country of 11 million people and 5 million workers, it could go back to its ancient roots, literally and grow again.

For more information / images contact: June Field
jfield@threesixtydegrees.net
+ 44 (0) 208 940 9527

See the article at the official source: VisitGreece.gr Blog

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Agrotourism in Crete with Eleonas Cottages

Famous worldwide for its culture,  vibrant lifestyle, diverse landscape, gastronomy, hospitality and much more Greece has so much to offer to every traveler, but more importantly the island of Crete invites you to discover the areaʼs magic in Eleonas cottages. Grasp the chance you have to explore the islandʼs  gastronomical suggestions by choosing amongst a variety of delicious domestic restaurants that will make you love Mediterranean cuisine and picturesque taverns which  will give you a taste of  the rustic traditional cretan food style in the heart of Zaros. One thing is for sure: that in Zaros the sky is the limit when it comes to the chances you the activities offered to you! Starting with a visit to the lake, you can enjoy your coffee while gazing at its blue green waters, feed the ducks and walk around the lake and enjoy the beautiful scenery and if you are an action lover, the Agiou Nikolaou canyon is the ideal choice for you. Savor the unforgettable flavor of fresh fish and homemade cheese while in your holidays in Zaros and explore the real meaning of agrotourism in Crete, ecotourism in Crete and in general rural tourism in Crete an experience that you will never forget. 


Rest assured that when visiting Zaros, you will be magnetized by its diverse beauty and amazed by the uncountable opportunities offered to you, to explore nature and not only see but more importantly feel its beauty! Eleonas cottages in Zaros, situated on a peaceful mountain slope, surrounded by olive oil trees create a magnificent landscape that no visitor could ever forget. In is not just the tranquility of the place since it is with no doubt the perfect getaway but this landscape is the ideal destination for nature lovers that would love to practice agrotourism in Crete and more specifically in one of the most amazing parts of the island, Zaros.  The areaʼs versatile broadness is definitely a unique lifetime experience for everyone since it covers every taste offering the visitor top accommodation facilities, a rich breakfast, uncountable chances to explore the areaʼs stunning landscape and even the chance to take cooking and cheese making lessons and have the chance to participate in the actual process of cheese making and find out so much more about this exciting process but more importantly about themselves! So if you feel like you wish to learn new exciting things, do as many activities as you possibly can  from animal feeding to mountain bike  or trekking  and looking for the place to make your dream come true then Eleonas cottages in Zaros is giving you the chance of your life!

Friday, November 30, 2012

MADE IN CRETE Food and Wine trails announce new tours starting October

NEW! CRETE’S FIRST COOKERY SCHOOL opens at ELEONAS Resort, Zaros.Want to learn the secrets of the healthiest eating on earth? Now it’s just a click away. Live like a local with Greece’s hottest gastro travel team at ELEONAS resort, located in Crete’s 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.

Dates: Six day courses at ELEONAS resort – number one b&b on TripAdvisor - from 29th October to 31 March from only EUR 1,680 per person inclusive of six nights private accommodation, airport transfers, all tuition, meals, wine and six guided excursions (flights extra).




Eleonas Cookery Course




Getting There: Heraklion airport, Crete has direct flights from most major European cities May to October. Daily scheduled flights via Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport operate year round (from 130 Euro return) connecting with domestic airlines Aegean Air, Olympic Airlines or Sky Express.

Ferries from Heraklion Port on daily direct schedule from Piraeaus Athens.

Press trip by June Field, Three Sixty Degrees, www.threesixtydegrees.net 

       

Get more info for the cookery course - programme