A historical route from Rethymno to Heraklion #EduTourism
The field research conducted in the framework of the project “Promotion of educational tourism for the promotion of natural and cultural heritage” aimed at exploring the views of young people and tourism professionals on educational tourism. One of the characteristics that emerged that Crete has for use in educational tourism packages is gastronomy/ecotourism. The route created by the EduTourism team with this theme includes a trip to three prefectures.
Starting from Amari in Rethymnon, a destination with a long tradition of Cretan hospitality.
There, the age-old eating habits of the inhabitants of Amari developed with what the Amari land generously offers: oil, wheat, wine, honey, greens and aromatic plants become the basis for the local cuisine, a representative part of the Cretan diet. The famous olive oil and the edible olives produced are considered among the healthiest in the world due to the special climatic conditions of the region. Apart from the oil, the local traditional wines from the small vineyards spreading on the hillsides of Amari play an important role in the local cuisine. In many villages, during the period following the harvest, i.e. in October and November, traditional rakokazana operate where you can watch the distillation process of raki, the traditional Cretan drink. And of course traditional dishes such as: Apaki, Epazima, Kalitsoukia, Kefalotyri, Dakos, Mizithra, Xinomyzithra, Xenotiogana, Ofto, Sariko pies, Tsakiste, Tsiladia, Tyrozouli
Continuing to the village of Avdou, located in the hinterland of the Municipality of Hersonissos, in a semi-mountainous location. Visitors and locals alike can participate in the preparation of local dishes with the help of the housewives and taste them on the evening dedicated to traditional foods. On most festivals such as Christmas, New Year, Kouloumma where the association cooks traditional Lenten dishes with volunteer Avgiot cooks, on the feast of St. John the Woodpecker on 30 November the association also fries and offers the traditional pancakes. Bread kneading, cheese production and the exchange of local horticultural products by non-professional farmers, simulating the art of the professional seller of agricultural products as it was done in the past or in the popular markets, create a warm, hospitable and creative atmosphere for the visitor.
Passing by the village of Thrapsano which is only 30km from Heraklion and is worth a visit to enjoy a wine and gastronomic journey. In the village there is a winery that exploits an ancient tradition by transferring part of the wine fermentation and maturation process inside jars.
Then crossing Kritsa which is one of the largest villages in the prefecture of Lasithi and retains its old Cretan customs and traditions. Kritsa is known around the world for its excellent olive oil. The unique Koroneiki variety grown in the area leads to the production of our olive oil hasbeen distinguished and awarded in many competitions. The Kritsa olive growers’ cooperative is open to host the visitor and introduce him to the wonderful tasty world of olive oil.
Concluding at the historic monastery of Toplou Monastery located on the eastern side of Crete, 10 km east of Sitia. The economy of the monastery is booming as it produces organic products such as wine, tsikoudia and oil and has built an olive oil mill, olive oil press, winery and a wine and tsikoudia press. The extra virgin olive oil of Sitia comes from the Koroneiki variety and has received international awards from the European Union. In addition, it produces many varieties of wine such as white Thrapsathiri and Vilana as well as red Merlot- Syrah which have already become a reference point as well as the sweet red wine made from sun-dried grapes of the Liatiko variety. The products exported by the monastery bear its name.
The proposed gastronomy itinerary in Crete has a total duration of 5 hours and 30 minutes starting from Rethymnon and ending in Sitia. Visitors will live an alternative tourist experience crossing Crete, stopping in villages tasting and making traditional products and meals.
The EduTourism project is implemented within the framework of the INTERREG V-A Cooperation Programme “Greece – Cyprus 2014-2020” and is co-funded by the European Union (E.T.P.A.) and the National Funds of Greece and Cyprus.