Crete food! Of course the locals don’t know it, but the Cretan diet is the best in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.
The locals just know, instinctively and via strong traditions, how to live life, and this includes how to enjoy good food.
Restaurants in Crete, tips for great dining in Crete.
Crete diet, simply a healthy way of eating. With an article by internationally recognised chef, Byron Ayanoglu.
Olive Oil The first step to enjoying the delicious olive oil from Crete is to help with the harvest...
Cretan Wine, fresh table wines grown under the Mediterreanean sun.
Tsikoudia, the Cretan spirit
Dakos, fresh Cretan salad recipe.
Bougatsa, recipe for our favourite Greek pastry.
Buy Cretan Products Online, organic olive oil, Greek coffee, cookies from Crete...
Buy Greek Olive Oil Online, organic olive oil, Cretan olive oil...
Dittany of Crete, a healing herb unique to the island...
Greek Cookbooks, to bring the flavours of Ellada home with you...
Proudly, Crete now has one of the highest registrations of organic produce in all of Greece, which is a wonderful way of continuing land practices unchanged over centuries and ensuring healthy eating and a healthy planet.
Whatever your tastes, you will find something wonderful about Cretan food. Is it the atmosphere? Is it the air? The mountains? The soil? The fresh water? The Mediterranean? Is it the farmer or the cook?
This will take a few hours of diálogo dialogue... so let’s pour another
Dópio local, is a great Greek word to know if you are travelling. It can refer to just about any food or drink or preparation, and ensures your hosts know you want the real thing. Ask for dópio crassi local wine.
At a taverna you could simply say dópio fagitó… local food. Your hosts will know what you mean. At a fishing village of course ask for dópio psári local fish.
Below, you will find recipies for wholesome Cretan food and all about village food.
One of our favourites. Dakos whether you eat it for breakfast, lunch or as a snack any time of the day, always satisfies.
In the village, the natural rhythms of the harvests influence what is fresh and natural to eat.
In October, the stafília grapes have been harvested and the sultanas dried, so each house has abundant quantities of sultanínas sultanas, bursting with the summer sun trapped inside.
After the grape harvest and the all important trip to the einopoiío οινοποιίo wine factory, the scrappy left-over grapes are made into mustalevriá. This sweet wholesome dish is traditionally made from the músta must, the squashed skins of the grapes left over from winemaking.
In the village in November, each breakfast was karídia walnuts as they were plentiful. Sometimes simply karídia and méli walnuts and honey.
Later in January, the trees were full of mandarínia so these sweet treats were a feature at most meals and coffee breaks.
After the grape harvest and the wine making, our kazáni is fired up. This is the local still, making a potent white spirit from the wine grapes. Many pleasant hours are spent sitting around the fire making tsíkoudia which is a labourious process for those responsible, consisting of 10 minutes hard work followed by 2 hours of hard drinking.
Occasionally, to line our stomachs, we pop some potatoes in the hot coals and eat them steaming fresh from the fire. The sweet smell of the tsíkoudia made from the must of the grape harvest and wine production will always remind me of the fun and relaxing parea at the kazáni in our village...
After winter rains, hórta flourishes, and yiayias are busy out in the country lanes with their bags collecting the lush wild greens. There are actually many different types of hórta...getting to know them and how to cook them is one of the pleasures of life in the village, and learning about Cretan food.
As you sit relaxing in the kafeníon, don’t be surprised if a ruddy faced shepherd comes in bearing mizíthra fresh goat's whey cheese from the mountains. This freshness is one of the great qualities of Cretan food.
Around Christmas time, those with squeamish stomachs should stay away from the butcher as he kills the pigs for the village. Our kafedzís, who used to be the town butcher, still performs this service in late December for all the families with pigs. As he knew I was squeamish, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, he would make the hand sign for cutting his throat and say na spháxo ta vorúnia – "I am going to kill the pigs - want to come and watch"? He never tired of making this joke and others which would always make me laugh, and him and the rest of the kafeníon laugh at my grimaces and squirms. Pork is a popular Cretan food.
One unusual tidbit for visitors to know about is gliká tou koutalioú, literally 'sweet of the spoon'. These are preserves, usually home-made, served on a tiny plate with a tiny spoon to newly arrived visitors (at any time) or at a coffee date in the home.
These are a very handy thing for any Cretan (Greek) housewife to have in the cupboard, as the sugar preserves the fruit, it doesn't readily spoil and is a handy fall back when 'the cupboard is bare' of fresh-baked sweets. The flavours can be as varied as the gardens and orchards around the village, and also seasonal, we love the síca fig jam made with fresh figs.
It is never too far between treats with the Greek pastries. Many coffee dates will be filled with these delicious fattening goodies. One of our favourites is bougatsa.
For a culinary journey to the rest of Greece see this website called The Ultimate Guide to Greek Food As well as Cretan food, you will learn all about Greek food, as well as many articles on Greek cuisine.
The author of this site says "The image that best sums up the food of Greece, for me, is that of a leisurely meal served on chequered clothed tables under the shade of ageing olive trees, with the sun reflected on the blue waters of the Mediterranean".
We agree! Kali Orexi!