Grecotel Hotels & Resorts goes above and beyond the traditional holiday experience in more ways than one. With a stellar collection of properties across Mykonos, Corfu, Crete and Rhodes, every box is ticked whether you’re seeking a family adventure or a romantic couple’s retreat and each resort is split into the category of boutique hotel, elegant beach resort, LUX ME (Luxury Made Easy) and All-in Lifestyle resorts. Guests can expect every one of their needs and desires taken care of thanks to the signature Grecotel service philosophy, not to mention the incredible facilities that are both unique and of five-star quality – but it doesn’t get any more unique than the AgrecoFarm in Crete, perfect if you’re staying at Grecotel Amirandes Boutique Resort on the east coast of the island. Delve deep into Cretan cuisine at this fairy-tale farm, deep-rooted in Grecian hospitality and innovative cultivation, providing one-in-a-million experiences that will make your holiday to Crete one that you’ll never forget.
Experience the authentic Greek way of life
The Agreco farm is located on a four-hectare estate close to Rethymno in Crete, and it showcases ancient farming methods as well as providing an insight into the organic production of the island’s delicious fresh fare. The privately-owned property is a replica of a 17th-century lodge which features a traditional olive press, a flour water mill, a wine press and a giant vat for pressing grapes in true Grecian style. But you’ll find so much more than just a farm here – the complex includes a church, a village square, a wine cellar, a shop and even a mini zoo! On weekday evenings, guests are invited on a guided tour of the estate which lasts around 50 minutes and provides an in-depth insight into the centuries-old farming practices which are a unique expression of Grecian philoxenia (hospitality), as well as a closer look at the fascinating facilities including the beehives, wine and raki distillery and the wood-burning ovens.
If your holiday to Crete involves children and animal lovers, you simply must stop by Agreco Farm’s mini zoo. Animals and livestock are an integral part of farm life, and at the heart of the estate is where you’ll find the mini-zoo abundant with deer, wild goats, sheep, cows, bees, wild boar, donkeys and an array of birds including chickens, turkeys and peacocks. While also contributing products such as cheese, milk, eggs, meat and honey, the animals play a role in the farm’s production, providing their labour in activities such as turning presses to clear the land of weeds and wild grasses.
The Cretan Diet
Unique in both taste and quality, the Mediterranean diet is expertly considered by nutritionists to provide longevity and good health, with Crete at its epicentre. The history of the Cretan diet dates back to the Neolithic Age, and the ethos remains to eat anything that the rich soil produces. Fruit, vegetables, legumes, cheese and bread are among the staples while herbs are used to add flavour to meals and cakes are prepared with natural sweeteners such as honey and grape-juice syrup. Cretan wine is an indispensable accompaniment to meals and meat, although widely available, is consumed in moderation.
Farmer for the Day
It doesn’t get more authentic than a hands-on experience playing farmer for a day at the Agreco Farm. This exciting day out is perfect for all the family and you’ll get the opportunity to learn how to prepare and eat homemade traditional Cretan fare. You’ll start by picking vegetables from the organic garden to stuff them as an accompaniment to your final meal, followed by making farmhouse bread and baking it in the wood-burning oven – you won’t be able to resist trying it hot from the oven dipped in extra-virgin olive oil. The Agreco chef will assist you in picking vine leaves to prepare the famous Greek dolmadakia – but pay close attention, the wrapping of the leaves isn’t as easy as it looks! Collect the hen’s eggs to make village-style scrambled eggs, milk the goats and help shear the sheep before sampling the milk and making Cretan cheese pies which go perfectly with the organic wines you’ll taste with a visit to on-site wine press. Your day as a farmer will end with a visit to the Chapel of Saint Nicholas in the farm square before popping into the shop to purchase Agreco organic products as the perfect reminder of your traditional experience. Kids have their very own tailored Junior Farmers experience that is supervised by the children’s club staff at Grecotel which include similar activities including making dough and baking and picking vegetables for a healthy Cretan lunch. The Farmer for the Day experience is available on Wednesdays and require prior reservation to avoid disappointment.
Indulge at the taverna
Embark on a culinary journey at Agreco Farm with a delectable meal at the on-site taverna which serves the very best of traditional Cretan cuisine. With preparation done entirely in the farm kitchens, only fresh, organic produce made on the premises is showcased on the menu as you tuck into delicious food in elegant settings. The restaurant is located within the estate on a hill overlooking the sparkling sea and surrounded by majestic olive trees to set the scene. You’ll be welcomed with a refreshing cocktail of tsikoudia blended with water and local cucumber and as the sun begins to set, study the set menu which comprises 30 different tastes which are all seasonal yet excitingly diverse; the likes of pickled wild artichokes, stuffed courgette flowers and oven-baked lamb are among just a few of the delights you’ll taste, all washed down with a glass of organic wine from the estate’s own cellar. The taverna is open from May to October on Tuesday to Saturday evenings from 6pm and reservations are essential.
Take a slice of Crete back home
Trust us, this isn’t your average Tesco shop. The farm store at Agreco gives visitors the opportunity to take home farm produce including olive oil, wine, honey, fruit preserves, herbs and teas – all of these are also available to purchase at Grecotel Amirandes Boutique Resort and other Grecotel properties. Oh, and if you’re seeking natural cosmetic products, the shop also stocks a range of organic aromatherapy oils, shampoos and conditioners, foam baths and much more from smallholders all over Crete and Greece.
Grecotel Hotels & Resorts is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to creating exceptional holiday memories for all of its guests, evident through its beachfront locations, amazing gastronomy, exceptional service and stellar facilities. Olympic Holidays is here to get you to Grecotel and book your dream adventure with just the click of a button…