Vamos is a small village about a 40 minute bus trip from Chania. A well reviewed cooking class is run there and once I realised that I could attend within the bus schedule I signed up. The class is run by Koula Barydakis, a very accomplished Cretan cook.
I had a little time to wander around the village before the class started. As I walked around taking photos a local woman started pointing out to me things that I shouldn’t miss! Once again I was delighted by the Greek friendliness.
The class started with raki (of course) and a talk about the native herbs of Crete. We were served some herbal tea then got into the cooking. There were nine of us in the class, solo me, a couple from the US, a couple from England, a couple from The Netherlands and a couple from Germany. Having eaten alone each night up to this point it was good to get a bit social again.
We learned to make several dishes including filo pastry, zucchini fritters, cheese pies! and much more.
Starting with some herbal tea.
Making the filo pastry, secret ingredient, raki.
Preparing the vegetables. Everything fresh.
Making dolmades, rice and herb filled grape leaves. Grape leaves picked that day.
Roasted aubergine for aubergine dip.
Beautiful setting in which to cook.
Time to use the pastry and make the cheese pies.
Somewhere along the way we made zucchini fritters too.
Finally, the best part. Eating. With plenty of wine.
And a host made dessert to finish, semolina halva.
The cooking class was a lot of fun and also very informative. The emphasis on fresh and seasonal was evident. We walked out with our very fashionable aprons and a stack of recipes.
A final stroll through Vamos back to the bus stop and a quiet drink while waiting rounded off a fantastic day. In a village of only 800 people there were several choices of where to eat and drink in the main square. The salad was complimentary, of course. Cretan hospitality is like no other I have ever encountered.