Did you know that there are 30 million olive trees on Crete, which produces more olive oil than all of the Greek islands and mainland combined? The olive harvesting season has begun for Cretan producers. The tradition of harvesting olives begins in late October/early November and usually continues until mid-January. The history of olive cultivation in Crete dates at least back to the Minoans and thanks to its bounty, the olive tree was revered as a sacred gift from the Gods.
Food is now a main motivation for travelers choosing their destinations. Like wine, extra virgin olive oil is becoming increasingly important throughout the world of gastronomy. On this farming island, the traditional oil harvest is just perfect idea for a different kind of autumn holiday in Crete. As a community affair, the oil harvest season inspire travelers to participate in authentic, interactive, fun and educational workshops on the art of traditional harvesting, oil tasting and making natural olive oil soap. Excursions to olive oil producers and ancient olive mills, cooking workshops and tasting new flavors can be perfectly combined with opportunities to connect with nature, experience local traditions and indulge in food-forward activities.
Cooking vacations during the olive harvest in Crete is wonderful idea to taste the oil of some of the best ancient varieties produced on different regions of the island. You can also join a local community, try your hand at harvesting and make your own olive oil. Once you taste the freshness of Cretan oil just harvested and smell its intense fragrance, you’ll understand how wonderful this natural product that is also an extremely healthy oil to use for all types of cooking, and has much existing and emerging research related to the health benefits of the high levels of antioxidants.
Crete is one of Europe’s best food destinations and a trip to experience the harvest is easy to combine with other activities. Take advantage of the cooler temperatures and use your time for hiking or bike riding around the stunning mountains and fields. Try local culinary cultures combined with some amazing adventures and buy a bottle of delicious olive oil to take home as a souvenir. The airports of Heraklion and Chania have quite a good selection of locally produced oil if you don't have spare room in your suitcase.
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