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Host: Maria

Syros, Greece

USD
$90-$142 per person

Explore traditional Greek cooking using foraged wild herbs

Host offerings
  • Rural farmhouse
  • Professional cook
  • Pets
  • Vegetarian
  • Alcohol
  • Transportation
  • Cooking experience
  • Market visit

Meet Maria

Maria is a professional chef who has worked in the culinary world since 1998. She is passionate about Greek cuisine and loves to showcase the unique ingredients and flavors that can be found in the various regions and islands of Greece. She loves creating food that has a strong sense of place by using local ingredients and techniques. Maria has lived on Syros for 4 years and strongly believes the island is a herbal paradise. She now specializes in collecting and using wild herbs and greens in her cooking, along with organic products from local farms, exceptional Cycladic cheeses, spices and grains which give the dishes a unique, fresh and often unexpected flavor.

Maria presents a journey into time, feeling the history and culture of Syros in your plate and enjoying Greek hospitality at its best.

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-6 guests) Enjoy a traditional Cycladic meal at Maria’s table. Her cooking highlights fresh, organic ingredients and wild herbs. Your meal will be heavily seasonal and might include dishes such as black-eyed beans, tomato, zucchini rocket, purslane and capers salad, fava padremeni (yellow split peas from Iraklia island served with slowly cooked onions, sun dried capers and sun dried tomato), vlita (local greens) with tyrovolia (local cheese from Syros island) and petroti (Cycladic cheese) baked in the oven with tomatoes, tourlou (a mixture of seasonal vegetables baked with chickpeas), melitzanes Dellagratsiano, a kind of mousaka, aubergines with local cheese, gruyere and San Michali, and tomato sauce and seasonal salads using both foraged ingredients as well as organic, cultivated vegetables. Your meal will end with tea or coffee and a sweet.

Local Greek wine is included in the cost of your experience.

Cooking experience: (1-6 guests) Your culinary experience begins with a walk near Maria’s home where she will teach you how to identify and gather wild herbs and greens. Depending on the season, you will collect herbs like sage, St. John’s wort, sea fennel and other greens and wild herbs. Maria shares her historical and scientific knowledge about the plants, as well as their use in herbal medicine and how to cook them in unexpected combinations. Once you have collected enough ingredients, you will return to Maria’s home kitchen and learn how to turn these wild plants and organic cultivated vegetables and legumes, into your meal.

This is a hands-on cooking experience and Maria will guide you through the process, sharing cooking techniques, nutritional information and her stories as you cook together. You’ll prepare a unique, traditional Greek meal that is outside the mainstream of Greek food and highlights local cheeses, vegetables, legumes and grains. Traditionally meat was used sparingly so the meal will focus on vegetable-rich dishes that are highlighted with meat.

Notes: Maria can provide pick-up and drop-off for an additional cost. Please include transportation in your booking and be sure to tell her where you are staying.

Languages spoken: English, French (translation by her assistant)

Sample menu

This is just a sample menu to give you an idea of the types of dishes the host cooks. Your menu will vary according to seasonal availability.
  • Patates adinaktes, potatoes cooked in red wine with coriander
  • Avga tirititim, scrambled eggs with zucchini and wild herbs
  • Seasonal salad with millet cooked in a sage or thyme infusion decorated with wild flowers
  • Wild rock samphire salad
  • Fresh black-eyed peas sautéed in butter and served with tomatoes sauce and local gruyere
  • Semolina halva with saffron and sweet red wine
  • Greek wine
  • Tea or coffee

Traveler reviews

Meeting Maria was one of the best experiences of my trip. I am a chef in Australia and teach cooking classes myself, but spending time with Maria really opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas about food I'd never thought about before. She has great knowledge about edible weeds in Syros and their uses, the class and meal was so interesting it flew by. I would strongly recommend going to see Maria if you have time, I went to Syros exclusively to take a class by her and I'm so happy I did.
- Ella September 21, 2017

Maria is both an excellent cook, having had her own restaurant for many years, and an experienced nutritionist. She is also extremely knowledgeable about wild greens, flowers and herbs and their uses in cooking and natural medicine. This makes for an experience which is both gastronomically and intellectually stimulating. On top of this Maria is a very warm, gentle but enthusiastic person to be with. She is also highly professional and committed. Her home, which she shares with her lovely partner Nikos, who is a painter and teacher, is the ground floor of a two-storey house. It is situated in an olive grove and looks south over the sea to the other Cycladic islands. It is a modest, functional home with nothing fancy about its interior decoration. As for the food, the tastes are fresh, varied and often unexpected. It is outside the mainstream of Greek food. There is something inspiring and exhilarating about the simplicity and easy availability (all gathered within 200 yards of the house) of the ingredients and the complexity of the palate. It also looks beautiful on the plate. But probably the best thing of all was Maria sharing her historical and scientific knowledge about the plants we were gathering and eating, which often went beyond the actual food we were preparing. This added an extra layer of pleasure to the experience.
- Rupert, Traveling Spoon Ambassador

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Maria

$90-$142 USD

per person
100%
Satisfaction Guaranteed
  • 100% Satisfaction guarantee or your money back
  • Free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance
  • Your credit card will not be charged until your host accepts your booking
Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$114 $94 $90
Cooking Experience + Meal
$142 $128 $124
Alcohol
$0 per person
Transportation
$26 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$114 $94 $90
Cooking Experience + Meal
$142 $128 $124
Alcohol
$0 per person
Transportation
$26 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
1:00pm-4:00pm 7:00pm-10:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
10:00am-3:00pm

Meet Maria

Maria is a professional chef who has worked in the culinary world since 1998. She is passionate about Greek cuisine and loves to showcase the unique ingredients and flavors that can be found in the various regions and islands of Greece. She loves creating food that has a strong sense of place by using local ingredients and techniques. Maria has lived on Syros for 4 years and strongly believes the island is a herbal paradise. She now specializes in collecting and using wild herbs and greens in her cooking, along with organic products from local farms, exceptional Cycladic cheeses, spices and grains which give the dishes a unique, fresh and often unexpected flavor.

Maria presents a journey into time, feeling the history and culture of Syros in your plate and enjoying Greek hospitality at its best.

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-6 guests) Enjoy a traditional Cycladic meal at Maria’s table. Her cooking highlights fresh, organic ingredients and wild herbs. Your meal will be heavily seasonal and might include dishes such as black-eyed beans, tomato, zucchini rocket, purslane and capers salad, fava padremeni (yellow split peas from Iraklia island served with slowly cooked onions, sun dried capers and sun dried tomato), vlita (local greens) with tyrovolia (local cheese from Syros island) and petroti (Cycladic cheese) baked in the oven with tomatoes, tourlou (a mixture of seasonal vegetables baked with chickpeas), melitzanes Dellagratsiano, a kind of mousaka, aubergines with local cheese, gruyere and San Michali, and tomato sauce and seasonal salads using both foraged ingredients as well as organic, cultivated vegetables. Your meal will end with tea or coffee and a sweet.

Local Greek wine is included in the cost of your experience.

Cooking experience: (1-6 guests) Your culinary experience begins with a walk near Maria’s home where she will teach you how to identify and gather wild herbs and greens. Depending on the season, you will collect herbs like sage, St. John’s wort, sea fennel and other greens and wild herbs. Maria shares her historical and scientific knowledge about the plants, as well as their use in herbal medicine and how to cook them in unexpected combinations. Once you have collected enough ingredients, you will return to Maria’s home kitchen and learn how to turn these wild plants and organic cultivated vegetables and legumes, into your meal.

This is a hands-on cooking experience and Maria will guide you through the process, sharing cooking techniques, nutritional information and her stories as you cook together. You’ll prepare a unique, traditional Greek meal that is outside the mainstream of Greek food and highlights local cheeses, vegetables, legumes and grains. Traditionally meat was used sparingly so the meal will focus on vegetable-rich dishes that are highlighted with meat.

Notes: Maria can provide pick-up and drop-off for an additional cost. Please include transportation in your booking and be sure to tell her where you are staying.

Languages spoken: English, French (translation by her assistant)

Sample menu

This is just a sample menu to give you an idea of the types of dishes the host cooks. Your menu will vary according to seasonal availability.
  • Patates adinaktes, potatoes cooked in red wine with coriander
  • Avga tirititim, scrambled eggs with zucchini and wild herbs
  • Seasonal salad with millet cooked in a sage or thyme infusion decorated with wild flowers
  • Wild rock samphire salad
  • Fresh black-eyed peas sautéed in butter and served with tomatoes sauce and local gruyere
  • Semolina halva with saffron and sweet red wine
  • Greek wine
  • Tea or coffee

Traveler reviews

Meeting Maria was one of the best experiences of my trip. I am a chef in Australia and teach cooking classes myself, but spending time with Maria really opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas about food I'd never thought about before. She has great knowledge about edible weeds in Syros and their uses, the class and meal was so interesting it flew by. I would strongly recommend going to see Maria if you have time, I went to Syros exclusively to take a class by her and I'm so happy I did.
- Ella September 21, 2017

Maria is both an excellent cook, having had her own restaurant for many years, and an experienced nutritionist. She is also extremely knowledgeable about wild greens, flowers and herbs and their uses in cooking and natural medicine. This makes for an experience which is both gastronomically and intellectually stimulating. On top of this Maria is a very warm, gentle but enthusiastic person to be with. She is also highly professional and committed. Her home, which she shares with her lovely partner Nikos, who is a painter and teacher, is the ground floor of a two-storey house. It is situated in an olive grove and looks south over the sea to the other Cycladic islands. It is a modest, functional home with nothing fancy about its interior decoration. As for the food, the tastes are fresh, varied and often unexpected. It is outside the mainstream of Greek food. There is something inspiring and exhilarating about the simplicity and easy availability (all gathered within 200 yards of the house) of the ingredients and the complexity of the palate. It also looks beautiful on the plate. But probably the best thing of all was Maria sharing her historical and scientific knowledge about the plants we were gathering and eating, which often went beyond the actual food we were preparing. This added an extra layer of pleasure to the experience.
- Rupert, Traveling Spoon Ambassador

Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$114 $94 $90
Cooking Experience + Meal
$142 $128 $124
Alcohol
$0 per person
Transportation
$26 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$114 $94 $90
Cooking Experience + Meal
$142 $128 $124
Alcohol
$0 per person
Transportation
$26 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
1:00pm-4:00pm 7:00pm-10:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
10:00am-3:00pm
FAQ

    You can cancel your experience 48 hours or more before your experience date and receive a full refund. To request a cancellation once you have made a booking simply log in and click the "Request Cancellation" link from the bottom of your booking. Your refund will be processed immediately (note it can take up to 10 business days for this refund to post to your credit card statement). Please note that for cancellations within 48 hours of your experience we unfortunately cannot offer a refund; this is because our hosts typically purchase food and begin their preparations up to 48 hours before the experience.

    Most of our hosts are able to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies, including vegetarian and gluten free options. For vegetarian travelers, we have an icon on each host profile to indicate whether that host can also offer a fully vegetarian menu. There is a section in the booking form to note any allergies or dietary restrictions which will be sent directly to your host.

    If you have a question about an experience, create a reservation and include your note in the field "Write a note to your host". Once you request a booking you can continue to message your host directly to ask any specific questions. You can always cancel your booking and receive a full refund as long as you cancel 48 hours in advance.

    Your card will not be charged until your host accepts your booking. Typically hosts respond to bookings within 72 hours. In the event your host is unavailable on your selected date and your host rejects your booking your credit card will not be charged.

    Your host's detailed contact information, including their phone number, address, and direction notes, will all be provided immediately upon successful confirmation of your experience (after your hosts accepts your booking and your credit card is successfully processed). This information will be emailed to you to the email address you used to sign up, and will also be visible on your Traveling Spoon profile.

    All prices are noted per person prices unless otherwise specified. Transportation is typically charged on a per car basis, but otherwise all prices are per person. Children aged 5-11 are 50% off, and infants aged 0-4 are free.

    Some hosts offer alcohol as an optional add-on for travelers who are of legal drinking age. Pricing for alcohol is visible on the host profile page and includes one to two glasses of wine, beer or local alcohol.

    Some hosts offer transportation as an optional add-on for travelers. Typically this is round trip transportation with pick up and drop off at your hotel. Pricing is quoted per car. Specific instructions for transportation will be provided in your confirmation details when your booking is confirmed.

    Many of our hosts accommodate solo travelers. You can see if a host accepts solo travelers by looking at the traveler range found next to the experience descriptions on the host profile (indicated by the numbers in parentheses next to "In-home meal", "Cooking experience" and "Market visit").

    Your safety and security are our top priority. To ensure this, Traveling Spoon personally vets 100% of all hosts, including an in-person host visit, to ensure each host and experience meets our strict quality requirements.

    Hosts typically respond to booking inquiries within 72 hours. If for some reason you have not heard from your host or if you have any questions you can always contact us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.