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Crete Food, Wine, Spirits & Organics

Fresh local food at Gramvousa Taverna in Crete

Crete food! The Cretan diet is the best in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.

The locals just know, instinctively and through strong traditions, how to live life, and this includes how to enjoy good healthy food.

The Cretan Diet - a basket of fresh vegetables

The Cretan Diet - is famous the world over for its life-giving properties - the longevity recorded on the island in Crete is well known. How do you live a long and healthy life? Well, to start with, don't diet!

Tamam Taverna in Chania Old Town

Tavernas in Chania - tips for great dining in Crete.

Tavernas by the sea in Crete

7 Tavernas by the Seaside in Crete - relax and eat with your toes in the sand.

Quality Label of Cretan Cuisine

Look out for the Quality Label of Cretan Cuisine at tavernas, restaurants and similar labels for Open Wineries, Cretan Grocery Stores and on certified products. This classification by the Agronutritional Coop of the Region of Crete means the taverna, restaurant, winery or product has been authenticated as local; a true Cretan experience.

Fresh broad beans from the garden in Crete

A Gourmet Ramble Around Crete - an article by internationally recognised chef, Byron Ayanoglu.

Fresh Chorta or wild greens in Crete

Wild Greens of Crete - all about the Cretan super food, Spiny Chicory.

Olive Tree, Crete

Olive Oil - the first step to enjoying the delicious olive oil from Crete is to help with the harvest.

Basket of fresh olives just harvested

Where to see olive trees, estates and taste olive oil in Crete - including an 8 day olive oil tour where you can help with the harvest, learn about olives and enjoy traditional fresh local meals. Or visit an olive farm as part of your own self-drive holiday.

Low vines Crete

Cretan Wine - quality wines grown under the Mediterranean sun.

Tsikoudia in Crete (image by Manos Perakakis)

Tsikoudia - or raki - the Cretan spirit.

Dakos with tomato

Dakos - a fresh Cretan salad recipe is a rustic staple of Crete food.

Grilled octopus

Grilled Octopus Recipe - how to prepare that octopus you see hanging by the harbour side.

Bougatsa (image by Savvas Limnatitis)

Bougatsa - the recipe for our favourite Greek pastry.

Beautiful green olive oil from Crete

Buy Cretan Olive Oil Online - organic olive oils from all over the island.

Where to see olive farms and taste olive oil in Crete.

Olive tours in Crete.

Dittany - a healing herb from Crete

Dittany of Crete - a healing herb unique to the island.

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers of Crete

Greek Cookbooks - to bring the flavours of Ellada home with you.

Spanakopita triangles

Vegetarian Greek Recipes - we share some of our favourite home cooking

Crete Food - Dakos

Crete Food - Dakos Salad

One of our favourites. Dakos whether you eat it for breakfast, lunch or as a snack any time of the day, always reminds us of Crete. Get the recipe here and some tips on where to find a good dakos in Crete.

Dakos on a platter with olive oilDakos salad can now be found in many fancy restaurants in Crete

Crete Spirit- Tsikoudia or Raki

Kazani in CreteManoli at the kazani

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.

Kazani in Crete

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.

At the kazani (image by Manos Perakakis)Tsikoudia or raki has a very high alcohol content

The kazani or rakokazano distills grape pomace into a clear white spirit called raki or in Crete tsikoudiaThe kazani or rakokazano distills grape pomace into a clear white spirit called raki or in Crete tsikoudia

Crete Food - Spoon Sweets

Greek Spoon Sweets

One unusual tidbit for visitors to know about is gliká tou koutalioú, literally 'sweets 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) household 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 siko σύκο fig spread also known in English as fig jam or fig marmalade, made with fresh figs.

Fresh green figsFresh green figs

Split sun dried figsSplit sun dried figs

Crete Food - Pastries for Breakfast

Bougatsa - yummy for breakfast

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.

This golden brown crispy pastry filled with mizithra μυζήθρα cheese makes a filling if not nutritious breakfast or snack at any time of the day.

  • In Chania try Bougatsa Chanion at 37 Apokoronou St, and Bougatsa Iordanis at 24 Apokoronou St, Chania.
  • In Heraklion try Phillo Sophia cafe near the Liondaria

Here you can see the preparation of bougatsa at Iordanis in Chania.

Food Tours

Food and Wine Experience

Chania: Old Town Highlights Guided Tour with Street Food - visit the local food markets and walk for 4 hours through the gastronomic highlights of this fascinating historic town, visit the old Jewish and Ottoman quarters and taste the local white spirit or raki. Enjoy mesedes which are little appetisers, part of the Cretan diet which is one of the healthiest in the world. Find out why.

Rethymnon Experience

Rethymnon Walking Tour with Food Tasting - treat yourself to a 4 hour gastronomic exploration of this cosmopolitan town, with food and beverage tastings, hidden spots not in the guidebooks all through the old zone. 4 hour walk.

Wine & Food Experience Tile

Heraklion: Cretan Wine Tasting Tour & Gourmet Lunch - visit some of the best wineries in the Peza and Archanes regions of Heraklion, taste 15 wines presented by a professional sommelier, then enjoy a gourmet lunch highlighting the best cuisine of Crete. 9 hours.

Zucchini balls Κολοκυθοκεφτέδες are not just an excuse to have Tzatziki Τζατζίκι but taste wonderful tooZucchini balls Κολοκυθοκεφτέδες are not just an excuse to have Tzatziki Τζατζίκι but taste wonderful too

This video captures the essence of Cretan food - shepherds, fishermen and winemakers share their passion for their local produce...they share the Incredible Flavours of Crete.

Getting Here

Take a 1 hour flight from Athens to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air, with many flights available per day.

Or take a 9.5 hour overnight ferry from Pireaus port of Athens to Heraklion port.

More on flights and ferries below.

Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.

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We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the We Love Crete team. Evíva!

The We Love Crete team - Anastasi, Katia & Apostoli

Anastasi, Apostoli & Katia are the We Love Crete team
We just love sharing our passion for Crete, Greece and travel
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Anastasi, Apostoli & Katia are the
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We just love sharing our passion for Crete, Greece and travel
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