Cooking on Santorini

Last Sunday we found out that my wife’s school had delayed opening for 2 weeks.  Apparently such is life at an international school in Cairo.  This is the fourth time in five years that something like this has happened for various reasons.

So suddenly we had some time on our hands.  Given the issues in Egypt right now, rather than travel around the country (which we very much hope to do sometime soon), we thought it might be better to head somewhere else for our newly found break.  This is definitely one of the perks about living in Egypt.  There are so many destinations that we’ve always wanted to visit that are literally on our doorstep.

For this trip, we decided on Greece.

We’re now halfway through our trip and so far I’m pretty happy with our choice.  Beaches, ancient ruins, sunshine everyday and amazing food.   Not a bad life I tell you.

In recent years one of the things we’ve started doing on our travels is to take cooking classes.  Both my wife and I really enjoy learning about local cuisines from the locals themselves and taking recipes back with us so that we can add them to our regular menus at home.

For a country that has such distinct and popular food, I had a surprisingly difficult time finding a cooking class for us to take.  As the popularity of culinary tourism continues to grow, I hope that this becomes less of an issue because the food here is fantastic.  It relies largely on fresh ingredients and is relatively simple to prepare, which makes it great for cooks of all skill levels.

At the last minute I ended up finding a class on the island of Santorini.  We had planned to be on Santorini for three days, so it actually worked out perfectly.  The class was offered by the head chef at Nichteri restaurant in the town of Kamari.  It cost 50 euros/person, which was a little pricey, but it did include a three-course dinner and drinks.  We were also the only two people in the class, so it felt a little like a private lesson, which was cool.

On the menu were two appetizers – Tomato Fritters and Santorini Salad – and one main course – Pork Cutlets in Vinsanto Sauce with Fava Bean puree.  As you might imagine it was all delicious.

Frying up the Tomato Fritters

Lindsay frying up the Tomato Fritters

Tomato Fritters served with a yogurt & mint dipping sauce.

Tomato Fritters served with a yogurt & mint dipping sauce.

Ingredients for Santorini Salad - minus the tomatoes & cucumber

Ingredients for Santorini Salad – minus the feta, tomatoes & cucumber

Plating the Santorini Salad

Plating the Santorini Salad

Santorini Salad

Santorini Salad

Pork Cutlets with Vinsanto sauce and Fava Bean puree

Pork Cutlets with Vinsanto sauce and Fava Bean puree.

Since pork may be a bit of a challenge to find in Cairo, the chef said we could easily substitute chicken or lamb for this dish.

And in addition to the foods we had prepared for ourselves, dinner also included grilled calamari and dessert.

Grilled Calamari with Quinoa salad and eggplant puree

Grilled Calamari with Quinoa salad and eggplant puree

All and all a pretty great experience!

Dinner on the beach

Dinner on the beach

Photo op with the chef

Photo with the chef of Nichteri

My only complaint, and it’s a relatively minor one, is that the class isn’t fully hands on.  There were a few steps that the chef just took over and did himself.  We’ve found this is fairly consistent with other classes we’ve taken at restaurants in other countries.  It’s almost as if the chefs are afraid we won’t do certain things quite right, so they feel they need to step in at times.  That said, I’d still recommend the class for anyone visiting Santorini.  It was a bit pricey, but definitely worth it.

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6 comments

  1. Scott Allen · September 6, 2013

    Who’s the Egyptian guy in the photos? With more posts like this I’m going to have pretty high expectations when we visit for dinner when you’re back in Canada. Unfortunately the reciprocal won’t be as impressive .. unless you’re into chicken fingers and sweet potato fries.

    • marcusoneill79 · September 7, 2013

      Cool…..Doing an Egyptian cooking class next week, so we’ll soon be able to add that to our repertoire too

  2. Robert wall · September 7, 2013

    Mmmm. Sweet potato fries.

  3. Pingback: Greek food – a backpacker’s perspective | Dietitian Abroad
  4. Pingback: Egyptian cooking | Dietitian Abroad

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