Eat well - travel often

Crete: Spending the Day With HandPicked Greece

HandPicked Greece

My first visit to Greece and more importantly the island of Crete. I was introduced to Hand Picked Greece – a day spent in the hills near Chania on a practically self-sufficient smallholding.

As a food and travel blogger I get to have some amazing experiences and a lot of them are loads of fun as well as a chance to learn something.  My day spent with HandPicked Greece in Crete was exactly that.

We (my fellow blogger friend Nayna was with me on this trip) arrived after a harrowing trip though the hills looking for the location.  We asked some locals and they pointed us straight there!

The property appeared a humble building with amazing views over the Cretan hills.

HandPicked Greece

We were warmly welcomed and enjoyed a few minutes to walk around the property whilst we waited for the other course participants to arrive.  HandPicked Greece is a simple set up on a smallholding – beautiful things to see every time you turn your head!

Our plan for the day was to prepare and cook our lunch guided by the expert skills and knowledge of the very friendly team of Valia, her partner Yanis and her lovely assistant Zeta.

The atmosphere was really relaxed, the weather was warm and the reception friendly.  We started with a tour of the rambling property with a different photo opportunity at each turn – the egg factory;

Hand Picked Greece

the outdoor oven or

Hand Picked Greece

the spare guest room!

Hand Picked Greece

We got together in pairs and proceeded to make our lunch starting with Kleftiko a roast pork and vegetable parcel cooked in the outdoor oven,

Hand Picked Greece

Feta cheese pies made in a frying pan. Lovely little pastries filled with feta cheese, Greek yogurt fresh oregano and spearmint then shallow fried in olive oil.  Each bite  little taste of heaven!

Hand Picked Greece

Jajiki – a garlicky yogurt dip.  The secret to getting this creamy and not watery is due to finely grating the cucumber and then straining it in a clean tea towel to remove all the moisture.

Dolmadakia -vine leaves stuffed with rice, mint and dill.  I have never been a fan of stuffed vine leaves when I had them in the UK however eating them on a Greek island was another thing altogether.  The vine leaves couldn’t have been fresher, we saw them a day or two before being sold in the open market in Chania.

Hand Picked Greece

These little parcels were so tasty we couldn’t stop popping one in our mouths! The sharpness of the lemon complemented the vine leaves enormously.

We had little terracotta dishes of feta cheese and finely chopped green pepper topped with local herbs and spices and cooked in the open oven.

Hand Picked Greece

The table was set for a group meal.

Hand Picked Greece

After eating we sat around and listened to some really lovely Cretan music.

Hand Picked Greece

I think this was the most wonderful day. We had such a great time with really hospitable and friendly people!  I would love to attend another one of Hand Picked Greece’s culinary days.

I was a guest of Hand Picked Greece. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions and photographs are my own.  No photos may be reproduced in any form without my written permission.

Nayna posted her account of our day here.

Here is some more reading about my trip to Crete, just click on the link.

Welcome to Crete

Olea Villas

Recipe for Cretan Orange Ice Cream

Recipe for Orange and Chilli Dipping Sauce



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