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Experiencing the Cretan Lifestyle

The essence of any culture is the sounds, tastes and traditions passed on from generation to generation. In Crete, the largest of all the Greek islands, the culture is rich with delicious food and genuine people willing to share their traditional lifestyle. The MV Explorer was only docked in Crete for two days, but students and staff had plenty of time to prepare some of the local cuisine, make sets of worry beads and learn several local dances. Get a taste of their experience below.

Taste Crete for yourself! Enjoy this local Dolmades recipe and prepare the dish seen at the beginning of the video.

Dolmades (Stuffed Vine Leaves)


  • 1 lb. of fresh or salted vine leaves
  • 3 cups of uncooked rice
  • 1 aubergine (eggplant)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 potato
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 dry onion
  • 2 cups of olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt, pepper and cumin
  • Handful of mint (chopped)

-Bring water to a boil in a small pot. Add fresh or salted vine leaves to the water to wilt for several minutes and then drain the pot. Set the leaves aside.

-Place uncooked rice into a small mixing bowl. Shred the aubergine, potato, zucchini, onion and carrot into the bowl with the rice. Add the chopped mint, salt, pepper, cumin and olive oil to the mixture. Mix the ingredients together with a large spoon.

-With one vine leaf in the palm of your hand, place a small spoonful of the mixture in the middle of the leaf. Fold the two sides of the leaf in towards the center and then roll the leaf cylindrically. Put a few leaves at the bottom of a casserole dish and then place the rolled leaves in a single layer. Do not make more than two layers.

-Cover the casserole dish with a lid, add hot water to cover them and place on high heat until water boils. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle with lemon juice.


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