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Κυριακή, 8 Ιανουαρίου 2017

OLD, TRADITIONAL COOKING METHODS WE USE STILL IN GREECE AND…WE LOVE IT!!


COOK WARE AND BAKE WARE

 

THE  G A S T R A: In Ancient Greece “gastra” was a food preparation concave utensil.


When cooking food in the United States and many other countries, people use the resources that are available to their market.

That means they use their stovetops, ovens, and occasionally the gas or charcoal grills that they may have outside.

In Greece there are plenty of modern kitchens of course that are equipped in the same way as these kitchens, but that’s not the only way Greek people cook.

In many regions of Greece things are a little different though and local people don’t count on Electricity or technology.

Old traditional cooking methods are still commonly used, mostly in the villages and mountain areas.

One of the different methods people still use to cook in Greece – especially in Epirus and Northern Greece is the GASTRA, a mobile oven I can say, a concave tin structure which had a handle so that it could be lifted and moved around when it is not hot.

 

Below the handle there is a metal hoop to keep the ashes and coals warm.

 

This cookware was and still is indispensable for transhumant shepherds, particularly the “Sarakatsani”, who move extensively all over the Epirus Mountains.

 

With simple ingredients as wheat, corn, flour and salt  and a pan on coals, covered by the all-purpose gastra, namely a metallic lid that converts a simple pan to an improvised oven, they cook not only pies, but also made bread and any kind of meats, greens and pulses.

 

Light a fire with branches that burn quickly and produce coals in a matter of minutes.

 

When the fire diminished t he gastra is placed on top with food or bread, covering it with the ashes and burning coals were put around and on top of it, sealing the mobile oven.

 

Cooking is slow and thorough in this contraption and, as a result, it produced delicious foods as bread, pies, sweets, and roasts.



Cooked in the old day’s gastra oven with a bell-shaped lid that fit over a round baking pan, pies and foods doesn’t require a proper stove, any kind of electric energy and just a match or a lighter to be able prepare and cook your own bread and food.

 

 

This is George Portokalakis

 

COOKING HOLIDAYS IN CRETE AND GREECE

In our cooking holidays and classes we provide and teach exactly some of these old methods of traditional cooking!

WE CHARTER GREECE

www.portoclub.gr

info@portoclub.gr & portoclub@cyta.gr

Cell: 0030 6975 735774

Πέμπτη, 5 Ιανουαρίου 2017

Exploring Crete… Individual Tailor made Cycling travel package - 12 Days /11 Nights

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για cycling in crete greece 




Newsletter for Cycling Community
Presented by Marketing Division of Porto Club Vacations
January 2017, Newsletter No.02 Special edition Vol.5
PORTO CLUB VACATIONS  PORTO CLUB TRAVEL
28, Efodou street, 71303 Heraklion – Crete – GREECE
Tel.+30 2815 002754 Cell phone: +30


Exploring Crete
Individual Tailor made Cycling travel package

12 Days /11 Nights
All inclusive basis exclusive cycling vacations in Crete
A special deal for the Cycling Community for only:

Κυριακή, 27 Μαρτίου 2016

‎Ellen Shaffer Niccolai Block‎- PORTO CLUB

We cannot say enough good things about our recent trip to Crete and the hospitality shown by Mr. Giorgos (George) Portokalakis and Anastasia Fryganaki (owner of the Kouriton House country mansion where we stayed).
What a rare treat this was. We found George to be so knowledgeable about the history of his beautiful island of Crete and its traditional cuisine.
Each morning, he painstakingly created a different breakfast that included a vast array of delicious food; truly a "wake-up feast." He would then take us out to explore the different cities and hidden mountaintop jewels while providing an excellent narrative of what we were about to see.
Giorgos took us to unique and wonderful spots for lunch, took us to sample Cretan cheese and wine, to bakeries that offer the most amazing bread and to local markets where we could purchase the freshest ingredients to use at night.
The nights were special as well because that is when George shared his culinary expertise with us, giving us "hands-on" lessons on preparing the delicious and oh-so-healthy Cretan cuisine. We learned so much in such a short time ... how to make fish soup, moussaka, pastitsio, shrimp saganaki, and a multitude of pork dishes, just to name a few.
George was attentive to our every need and even surprised us with a few mementos of our trip to take home.
Arrive with a hearty appetite and plan to eat (and drink) really well! We so enjoyed our time with both George and Anastasia and look forward to the time we shall meet them again.
Thank you George for making our first visit to Crete such a memorable one!

Κυριακή, 13 Δεκεμβρίου 2015

Yachting:3 Days sailing the north east coast of Crete

 YACHTSAILING
YACHT
 ACADEMIC
SAILING THE NORTH EAST COAST OF CRETE
SAILING STARTS AT AGIOS NIKOLAOS PORT and ENDS AT AGIOS NIKOLAOSPORT
PRICE INCLUDES:
TRANSPORTATION pick up from HERAKLION AIRPORT/PORT  and drop off at HERAKLION AIRPORT / PORT
PRICE of 4.728 IS FIXED NO MATTER IF GUESTS ARE 5,6,7,8 or 9 persons
ACCOMMODATION ON BOARD
PRICE INCLUDES SKIPPER & 1 SAILOR
MEALS: ALL MEALS INCLUDED IN PRICE

Πέμπτη, 8 Οκτωβρίου 2015

WEEK END EXPERIENCE IN CRETE

WEEK END EXPERIENCE IN CRETE

As Crete boasts of the unique culture and cuisine and Cretans knows that they have the finest gastronomical, tasty and healthy solutions proved and signed by the medical science society (Cretan Traditional Mediterranean Cuisine and Nutrition),  this weekend food and wandering break is an excellent way of experiencing the all the aspects in one + one exciting day out.
Spend two fabulous days discovering the sights, sounds and flavours of Crete. Tastes unique, mouth watering and above all, all those given with a smile coming deep from their heart…
You will experience the best street food of Heraklion, the beautiful sight of the palace of Knossos, the delightful taste of Cretan Shepherds traditional cuisine in the mountains of Crete. This unforgettable journey into the cultural and gastronomic heart of Crete will satisfy every appetite.
Price per person:  $498
Based on minimum: 2 persons
NOTICE: Week end can be extended as many days as visitors wish. Each extra day charged $249
On Your Dates: Email us with your desired date. (All Year round)
Additional information: minimum participation 2 persons
NOTICE:
SOLO TRAVELERS CAN BOOK THE TOUR ON PRIVATE - TAILOR MADE BY PAYING THE COST OF TWO PERSONS. When you book, reserve space for two persons.

Inclusions:
1 night hotel accommodation at A Class **** hotel/ double occupancy on Bed & breakfast basis
2 days exclusive English speaking host and driver for the city walks and the cultural drives in Crete
2 days exclusive chartered vehicle – fuel included
Transportation airport / port hotel by arrival and hotel / airport – port by departure
4 meals: Rich, unique, tasty, traditional, natural, healthy, in local traditional restaurants generally cooked by local farm house ladies using old traditional methods
Coffees / mountain teas / local spirits – Raki / home made free chemical wines / home made sweets and spoon sweets during the tasting

Gratuities/tips
In Crete, tipping drivers, guides, etc. is customary but not mandatory. Our guides, host, driver, etc. all happily accept tips, but they are never expected. We have seen guests leave huge tips for our staff, and we have seen guests leave no tip at all. Either way, both of those guests are equally appreciated.


Highlights:
Sample delicious bites of meats and cheese
Experience the mouth watering “loukoumades: the local honey puffs
Try the unique bougatsa from a local pastry shop
Try a unique Galatoboureko from a local pastry shop
Visit a local family run cheese shop to enjoy cheese with a shut of raki and taste unique small production special matured Cretan cheeses
See Heraklion ruins, the cathedral of the city Saint Minas, and then the Morozini fountain at the heart of the city, the Venetian church of Saint Marcus / now gallery, the church of Saint Titus.
A visit to the palace of Knossos (Entrance fees – guiding are extra)
A visit to a bee keeper place and tasting of honey comb, mountain herbal tea  and local pancakes with honey
A visit to the women cooperative work shop at village of Marathos
A visit to the forgotten monastery of Halepa
A visit to the village of Drossia and having lunch with local specialties and grilled meats

Itinerary:
Day 1. Saturday:
We pick you up from the airport of Heraklion or port or your hotel when you are already being in the city. We drive to the center of the city and the tour  start from the heart of the city and come to the PLATIA KORNAROU with first visit a small family run shop selling small quantities but high quality cheeses and taste few of them with a shut of Raki. The owner-cheese maker will welcome us with a variety of Cretan cheese to taste and they will talk to us about the various ways each one is produced.  We will taste few different kinds of cheeses as fresh soft white goat cheese called Mizithra, and same cheese matured few months called anthotyros as well as Graviera, the Cretan, Gruyere, and Kefalotyri both made from lamb and goat milk fresh and matured older cheeses with a stronger taste as well Next break just opposite to drink a cup of Greek coffee the traditional way cooked in hot sand. Keep walking the central market and stop for an OUZO (anise) with MEZE (small bites –like tapas - accompanies the spirit) at one of the traditional Mezedopolion of the street. We will be part of the local noisy people.  Visit the cathedral of the city Saint Minas, and then the Morozini fountain at the heart of the city, the Venetian church of Saint Marcus / now gallery, the church of Saint Titus.  We do a break for mesimeriano the Greek “lunch,” Americans usually treat “lunch” as the sober half hour with which they break up their work-day.  The Greek mesimeriano, on the other hand, rarely begins before two in the afternoon and often lasts for a couple of hours because of the Mezedes, the appetizer-sized plates of Greece, which are ordered in abundance with a variety of dishes that highlight Cretan and Greek cuisine. and shared around the table.  This occasion for drinking and dining is treated as a ritualized occasion for pleasure, sustained conversation and relaxation.
We end our walk after lunch visiting and taste the famous “loukoumades” (Cretan style doughnuts sprinkled with honey and sesame) there are just amazing. When you put them in your mouth they are just a fried little ball, but when you bit them the honey come flooding out over your tongue. Lastly a visit to the best small pastry shop in the city. Gloria: Artistic feeling + imagination + pure fresh ingredients = fascinating the palate in taste and quality elevating your senses to heaven: We taste the: Galatoboureko: custard cream and filo pastry in syrup and: trigono:: cheese cream and filo pastry in syrup. Incredible taste never have taste anything like that!! Drive you to the hotel and leave you relax taking a nap and get ready for the dinner.
We will come and pick you up at 8, 30 pm for joining a dinner Cretan style at Petoussis place. The menu includes some of the most popular dishes as “gamopilafo (rice pilaf cooked in lamb broth), antikristo (lamb cooked the Cretan shepherds paradila style facing the fire), fried zucchinis and zucchini little pies, and bekri meze (pork bites cooked in wine) and their special garlic bread (something like a tasty garlic flavor pizza) accompanied with local wine and raki. We drive you back to the hotel to spend the night in the city of Heraklion.

Day 2. Sunday:
We come and pick you up from your hotel at 9 AM

We start our day visiting the most important archaeological site on Crete, the Minoan palace of Knossos, the mythical Labyrinth. Concentrating on the prehistoric era of the island, revealing its unique historic course and penetrating into its ancient prehistoric cult, arts and ritual practices, we will be visiting an amazing area of 22. 000sq meters. The visit takes an hour and a half. Ending the visit our tour will continue driving west  about 30' min drive from Knossos to the little kafeneion of DOXA to visit the place of a bee keeper and learn about traditional methods of bee-keeping employed here to make organic, additive free local honey. The owners are two brothers who have been bee-keepers their whole lives, inheriting the business from their father. At the cafe, you will have the opportunity to take honeycombs straight from the beehive, learn about the bees and beekeeping as well as having the local pancakes known as tiganites served with honey and cheese pies along with raki or mountain herbal tea. Next stop the near village of Marathos to visit the women’s co-operative work shop where the residents make unique and incredibly artistic pastry breads called Xompliasto.  Keep driving west in the mountains and we're off to lunch at the finest restaurant on the island at Drossia. The restaurant is family owned; they also own the entire valley around it. At this delightful restaurant, they serve only what they grow themselves. This is a most authentic experience of real Cretan hospitality. A visit to the forgotten monastery of Halepa before we drive back to Heraklion airport / port where our wek end ends. Thank you for being here. KALO TAXIDI 

BOOK NOW!
More details / info: info@portoclub.gr 

Contact Mr. George Portokalakis 

Κυριακή, 4 Οκτωβρίου 2015

WALKING AND TASTING FOOD TOUR OF HERAKLION

WALKING AND TASTING FOOD TOUR OF HERAKLION

For those who have already booked their trip to Crete and wish a daily break doing that like best: WALKING AND TASTING GREAT FOODS 

HERAKLION NEVER TASTED SO GOOD...

Half a day food walk and taste in Heraklion walking the streets of the city
and meet nutritional wanderings elevating the palate to heaven!!

Heraklion has a unique Foodie culture and an irreverent charm; our 3- hour walking food tour allows you to experience local epicurean vibes by tasting delicious food and discovering culture and entertainment.
This, 3-hour tour combines fascinating culture and history, ancient architecture and delicious tasting along with the stories that inspired them. Our food and cultural walking tour is suitable for ages -1.5 Mile Walk. Book your tour at the beginning of your stay so you will be informed of all the best eateries and hot-spots of the city.
Join this walk to sample the fantastic array of multicultural dining that Crete has to offer. We will take you to several unique Ouzo and Raki places, Pastry, Cheese and coffee shops to try a variety of delicious foods while learning about their cultural background.

It’s a challenge to unearth the most authentic local cuisine.
Explore unique tastes on this walking and tasting tour of Heraklion. Join the real daily lifestyle the people of Heraklion live.

Take a leisurely stroll through the heart of Heraklion city.
Taste a variety of delicious food and cookies, cheeses and other goods from local food places, restaurants and little family run shops.
Learn the unique history and culture of this historical town.

All food and tasting are included in your ticket price.


Highlights:
Sample delicious bites of meats and cheese
Experience real Greek street food pita gyros and souvlaki
Experience the mouth watering “loukoumades: the local honey puffs
Try the unique bougatsa from a local pastry shop
Try a unique Galatoboureko and baklava from a local pastry shop
Visit a local family run cheese shop to enjoy cheese with a shut of raki and taste unique small production special matured Cretan cheeses
See Heraklion ruins, the cathedral of the city Saint Minas, and then the Morozini fountain at the heart of the city, the Venetian church of Saint Marcus / now gallery, the church of Saint Titus.

DETAILS
When: Daily.
Where: Entrance of Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (exact location will be given upon booking)
Time: 9:30AM and 5, 30PM on select days -Tour departs promptly at scheduled time. Duration 3 hrs-allow 15 min. grace period. 
Cost: Semi tour: 75€ and 
Private tour:105€ (minimum 2 people) all prices are per person 
What's Included: All Food, coffees, ouzo tasting, cookies, sweets, drinks, and English speaking host
Who & How Many: All age groups, semi small groups up to 8 people, and private tours available
On Your Dates: Email us with your desired date. (All Year round)
Additional information: minimum participation 2 persons

NOTICE:
SOLO TRAVELERS CAN BOOK THE TOUR ON PRIVATE - TAILOR MADE BY PAYING THE COST OF TWO PERSONS. When you book, reserve space for two persons.

Itinerary:
We start from the heart of the city and come to the PLATIA KORNAROU where first visit a small family run shop selling small quantities but high quality cheeses and taste few of them with a shut of Raki. Next break just opposite to drink a cup of Greek coffee the traditional way cooked in hot sand. Keep walking the central market and stop for an OUZO (anise) with MEZE (small bites accompanies the spirit) at one of the traditional Mezedopolion of the street. We will be part of the local noisy people walking / talking / arguing.  Visit the cathedral of the city Saint Minas, and then the Morozini fountain at the heart of the city, the Venetian church of Saint Marcus / now gallery, the church of Saint Titus.

We end our walk after lunch visiting and taste the famous “loukoumades” (Cretan style doughnuts sprinkled with honey and sesame) Lastly a visit to the best small pastry shop in the city. Gloria: Artistic feeling + imagination + pure fresh ingredients = fascinating the palate in taste and quality elevating your senses to heaven: We taste the: Galatoboureko: custard cream and filo pastry in syrup and: trigono:: cheese cream and filo pastry in syrup. Incredible taste never have taste anything like that!!