The Cretan Diet is famous for its unique taste and spirit. Some, not only locals, say its is miraculous as it is healthy, natural and proven to prolong life! In fact, it is the original Mediterranean diet Culture, history and geography have helped create a combination of foods and lifestyle which provides a unique diet that is locally produced, highly nutritious, prolonging life and helping to prevent many of the modern diseases that shorten the lives of millions of people every year in the West.
Let’s have a taste of the must try traditional Cretan specialties:
Staka is a popular Cretan cream butter made of sheep and goat milk, used in pastry and cooking but also served as a side dish dip, rich in fat yet absolutely tasty.
Tasty local edible green leafs that grow seasonally on the wild hills of Chania. They are handpicked from locals, washed thoroughly and served uncooked and crunchy or boiled and soft, always with the traditional Greek dressing: olive oil, salt and lemon juice.
An elemental dish that goes back to Minoan times: Snails are picked from experienced locals, boiled to cook end served with salt, rosemary sprigs and a dash of vinegar. A really tasty local delicacy!
A very popular, delicious and healthy Cretan meze. Large crispy round barley rusks, moistened with water and topped with grated tomatoes, crumbled Mizithra cheese and olive oil. Best accompanied with chilled Cretan Raki.
Sweet cheese pastries or herb pies, resembling common pies with the principal difference of its filling and serving variations. The sweet ones are stuffed with mizithra cheese and topped with honey and the salty ones are also stuffed with mizithra or various herbs from the cretan land. Kalitsounia can be either baked or fried depending on whether they are made with dough or thin fillo pastry.
Raki or Tsikoudia
The Cretan Spirit! A fragrant, grape-based brandy contains 35%–60% alcohol, similar to Tsipouro. This is commonly offered as an after dinner digestive and served cold, in small quantities. If you are into drinking much of it and not get a hangover, you ‘d better buy a bottle of homemade raki. It’s easy to find if you ask, there are local producers almost in every village. Raki can be flavored using lemon rind, rosemary, or honey if served warmed (rakomelo).
Gamopilafo (Wedding Pilaf)
This is the most traditional and ceremonial dish in Crete, but you don’t have to join a Cretan Wedding to enjoy it. It is served as a welcome dish in celebrations and festivals, even in some tavernas. The Wedding Pilafi is creamy rice cooked in lamb broth with fresh butter or staka added.
“Antikristo” or “Ofto” meat is probably the most ancient and most tasty way to cook meat and is commonly used on the mountainous villages of Psiloritis. Big pieces of sheep or goat meat are stacked on wooden rods around a large bonfire and getting slowly cooked for more than 4 hours.