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Experience a unique approach to learn how to make cold process soap or to hone your skills : 7 days of cozy and amazingly decorated accomodation in a tiny agrotourism hotel, great views, nearby beaches, cocktail at the pool or in the garden, food made just for you by our own chef and with local grown products only.
7 days of excursions to an essential oil factory, sheep herders, beekeepers, vineyards and much more... We counted 7 days, but we'll have still one half day more to enjoy the place, as you will spend 7 nights at the hotel.
And last but not least, 7 days of soap classes covering a number of topics and techniques !
CARINE'S CULTURAL PROGRAM
We will meet you at the airport in Heraklion, make sure you're all there and off we go!
Count about an hour till we get to our hotel. We'll take advantage of the route to get to know each other a little. Those who feel like taking a nap are more than welcome to rest a bit!
Once we arrive at our hotel, Kat and Alice will give you the key for your studio. Take your time, we'll meet again for a snack and a welcome drink at the pool an hour later. You can chill, enjoy the view, go for a walk. Our first soaping encounter starts at 5pm.
Greeks eat very late, so we'll follow the local habits and have dinner at around 8:30. Our private chef will have cooked us a typical Cretan meal, and we'll have enough to eat and drink to celebrate our new friendship !
Day starts with an amazing breakfast buffet. Fresh laid eggs from the hotel's hens, fruits and veggies from the garden, coffee (you can even ask for a Greek coffee or one of those frappes they make so well!), tea, fresh juices, local pastries, cheese, yogurt, cereals, fresh bread from the village bakery... We will start soaping at 9 am for 3 hours, put our mess away and go for a stroll to our fishermen's village before having lunch in one of the tavernas.
Around 3pm, we'll drive to an essential oil factory to do a little shopping and see how they make their natural products there. Of course, those guys make soaps too. But ours will be way better !
We'll finish the afternoon at an olive press that won the prize of the world’s best olive oil in 2015. The mill is family-owned. I’m sure we'll learn a lot about the whole oil making process, but don't think that we will leave the place without having tasted the different kinds of oils they're producing. Make sure you plan to take an extra baggage for your flight back, you'll be tempted to bring back a few gallons !
Back to the hotel, Leila will surely want to cut the previous day's soap before dinner.
After such a full day, I bet you'll all want to chill around the pool with one of Alice's famous raki cocktails, counting the stars in the sky...
Same breakfast as the day before (but with another kind of fresh juice since we'll be served a different kind every day), and right after we'll leave to the Katharo plateau, at 1200 meters high. Nobody really lives there. Its seasonal residents are shepherds, cheesemakers and farmers who produce apples, grapes and potatoes. Electricity comes from generators, and there are no real roads up there. Still, you'll find 3 very rustic tavernas that open when the shepherds move their flock up to the plateau. The scenery is amazing and there is a lot to be told about this unique area. One of the reasons it is world famous from the most enthusiastic botanists is its flora. Your guide will most probably tell you about herbs and flowers that only grow on the plateau and nowhere else. Crete, in general, is a paradise for botanists. You'll learn to recognize and gather herbs that you will be able to use in your soap.
Yiorgos, your guide is also the founder of the botanic museum of the quaint traditional village of Kritsa. We'll have a tour with him before enjoying lunch at the taverna next door (that is my favorite canteen when I am there, trust me, I'm a good eater !). Try the lamb, it's soooo tasty !
Kritsa is the village of the lacemaking ladies, but it also has loads of nice little souvenir shops you'll surely enjoy. We'll go see my friend Sofia who owns the best shop to buy spices. She's a soapmaker, so she'll know about your needs...
We'll be back at the hotel around 4pm and ready to start a new soaping class until dinner. I am pretty sure you'll all be very inspired after those visits.
Organic breakfast, soap cutting if possible, and then off to the beekeeper's ! Beekeepers are nomads, changing places according to the season and the flowers they want to find for their honey production. At this time of year, the beekeeper goes on a particular mountain that has an amazing view over the Mediterranean sea. That's where we'll have our picnic, prepared by our own chef, after having spent time learning about bees and honey. You won't believe how tasty this honey is. I’m sure you'll want to bring some back home !
Back at the hotel in the afternoon, we'll take some time to rest around the pool and swim a little to refresh and get a little tan.
The 4th soaping session starts right after until dinner.
Locavore breakfast by the pool before hopping into our van that will drive us a bit further west today. We'll be heading off to the Heraklion vineyards and visit two very good wine producers. And although it is quite early still to get a drink, we'll make an exception and enjoy the tastings ! Then we head to the taverna we'll lunch at in the nice little town of Archanes. Did you know that Crete was the second largest wine area of Greece and that the Minoans, who were the first peoples of Crete, planted the vines 4000 years ago?
We'll be back at the hotel in the late afternoon. A little swim in the pool before attacking class number 5 before dinner?
Early breakfast this morning, we'll have to get up a little earlier because we're going to spend a few hours with Yannis, our shepherd, who also makes cheese and will show us how. Ever milked a sheep? Well... you can maybe try your skills today ! We want milk, loads of milk. You know what we can do with sheep (and goat) milk? Well yes, soap... of course !
Yannis' place is on another plateau. Way more famous than the first one you went to. This one is the Lasithi plateau, and it is part of the mandatory visits of Eastern Crete ! You'll surely understand why.
Before heading back to our hotel to make milk soap, we'll have lunch in a village called Krasi (which means wine.. Oh well, don't think we're obsessed with wine too... but we do like it !). A picturesque rustic village everybody loves.
After soaping class, we'll drive to Agios Nikolaos and do some shopping. I know another great spice shop there. For those who want, there are pretty beaches in town, with totally clear waters. We'll take advantage of being there to eat out tonight. Agios Nikolaos is a very lively city. You'll like it for sure !
Another breakfast in paradise ! Followed by class number 7. We'll then pack our picnic and drive to a marvelous beach towards the East. It is known as one of the best beaches in the area. Last opportunity to work on our tan this week. We'll have lunch there and go back to the hotel right in time for a short cooking class with our chef who will teach us to do some easy mezze recipes.
Not too long cooking because we have to make ourselves pretty for the farewell party we're having at the hotel – a buffet with our mezze and much more food, drinks and Greek live music.
Leila will give you your "Soaper's Diploma" and we could organize a big soap swap if you feel like it.
Last breakfast before going back to Heraklion where Leila and myself will drop you off. You may decide to stay a little longer in Crete depending on your flights arrangements, that is why we'll plan a drop off in town as well as at the airport for those who take their flight during the day...
LEILA'S SOAPING PROGRAM
SOAPING DAY 1
- Intro and basics of soap making
- Let’s make soap!
- Soapers will make a batch and discuss their concerns or areas they would like to explore more in depth as we learn about controlling trace
SOAPING DAY 2
- Color and Design
- we will discuss color palette choices and the rule of 3 in design
- Soapers will choose a palette and create their own design based on discussion
SOAPING DAY 3
- Using EOs and botanicals
- Soapers will choose and use EO blends and botanicals for their soap
SOAPING DAY 4
- Soaping and designing with additives
- Soapers will incorporate fresh honey in this soap as well as other additives such as clay, sand, botanicals, etc.
SOAPING DAY 5
- Swirl techniques
- We will cover a number of techniques such as taiwan swirls, hanger and butterfly swirls, cosmic pours, funnel pours, etc.
- Soapers will select a technique to use for their soap
SOAPING DAY 6
- Making layers in soap - we will cover straight and slanted layers as well as opposite wall layers
- Soapers can add wine from the vineyard to their soaps if they choose
- We will create layered soaps
SOAPING DAY 7
- Creating scenes and landscapes
- Soapers will translate their visions into soap!