Those who have visited Crete have certainly tasted amazing traditional food produced in this beautiful island. Do not forget, also, that the famous Mediterranean diet is synonymous to the island of Crete. Since ancient times, the Cretan cuisine, rich in olive oil, vegetables, fruits, herbs, honey and excellent wine, has been associated with longevity and health. That’ why the global scientific community mentions the Cretan products and cuisine, as a nutritional miracle!
So, which are the traditional Cretan products you should definitely try from your first visit at Crete?
Olive oil is the biggest secret of the Cretan diet and longevity of Cretans. In Crete, is produced olive oil of excellent quality and olive products, internationally recognized. The high quality of Cretan olive oil is known all over the world, as it is not an industrial but a natural product, created from a simple crushing of the olive, without extracts and admixtures. It is one of the cretan products that is grown with care and packaged in its pure and natural form, from companies that show their respect to both the product and the consumer himself.
How to taste olive oil in Crete? Instead of putting butter, dip your breakfast- bread or wholegrain rusk, in Cretan virgin olive oil. You may also give a special sent to the olive oil, by putting a combination of herbs that you like, into the bottle. It is the best, the healthiest, most delicious breakfast.
If you visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, one of the most important museums in Greece, preserving the secrets of the famous Minoan civilization, you will see the most popular exhibit of the museum: a beautiful gold necklace with “two bees” on it, which, as it is said, they are in love.
The Cretan honey is a completely natural product, produced in areas with endemic vegetation. As known today, the bio-system of the island is rich in endemic plants, especially herbs. Those offer Cretan bees their favorite food. Crete is a place rich in native plants, such as thyme, sage, bush, oregano, pine, acacia, arbutus, eucalyptus and, of course, cultivated citrus. The processing of the Cretan honey is done in a natural way, in order for the high temperatures not to destroy the vitamins of honey.
In any shop with traditional Cretan products, you will certainly find some of the many aromatic and medicinal herbs of Crete. Herbs are a great tradition of the island. Botanical studies reveal that Crete has one of the richest and most interesting ecosystems in Europe, with a large number of endemic plants, such as “malotira’” (siderites syrioca) and “diktamos” (origanum diktamus L. ), known for its antiseptic properties, since antiquity.
In Crete today, are offered numerous herbs that have been used, since antiquity, as medicinal plants. There are many texts of ancient authors, attributing exceptional therapeutic properties to herbs. The amazing herbs of Crete grow on steep mountains of the island and are collected by experienced collectors. Then, they are dried under natural conditions and packaged, without any chemical or other treatment.
At any tavern you visit during your holidays in Crete, you will certainly see at least one kind of Cretan cheese on each table. Cheese in Crete is not considered just a food, but also a carrier of information about the flora, the tastes, social culture and lifestyle of its region of origin.
Cheese, is one of the cretan products that can be consumed all day long, from morning until late at night, as an accompaniment or as a main delicacy, as a starter or as a dessert. No matter if it is an official table or not, Cretan cheese is never missing. Popular Cretan cheeses are: graviéra, anthótyros, myzíthra, pichtógalo, e.t.c. Also, do not hesitate to taste high level culinary combinations including cheese, such as: watermelon with feta and graviéra with melon or honey.
The rusk is an important ingredient of the Greek food culture, since antiquity. Although there are different historical perceptions about the origin of rusk, what is important is that, it became an integral part of the daily diet of the Cretans with the passage of time. The rusk has a high nutritional value and provides fiber, vitamins B and E and many minerals, giving balance to the human body.
You will meet rusk everywhere in Crete: from the daily table of a farmer to the most luxurious dining restaurants. The bread of the poor, as once was declared, has become a gourmet sample, like all traditional cuisine of Crete.
For the Cretans, an important element of the traditional way of living is a meal or a dinner, to be accompanied by plenty of wine. Wine is an integral part of the culture of the Cretans, an element of companionship and social relationship. That’s why they never drink alone, but always as a company, laughing and chatting. Modern wine industries in Crete have used traditional grape varieties and accumulated centuries of experience. Besides, the oldest wine press, old over 3500 years, is located in Archanes, Heraklion.
This tradition goes hand in hand with knowledge and technology. Cretan winemakers combined the tradition and their knowledge with new developments and the preferences of the consumers. Special oenologists taste varieties, experimenting, highlight aromas and flavors and offer fine wines for consumption, wines that can satisfy all tastes and all requirements.
Tsikoudiá or Rakí
It is, maybe, the most popular among Cretan products! You will certainly be treated some shots of rakí in any place of Crete. The rakí comes from the distillation of grapes marc, left after the pressing and extraction of the must for wine production, about a month after harvest. The distillation of raki is a festive process in Crete! You can taste it, either pure, without any impurities, or with walnut sheets, added to the distillate, as a flavoring. Anyway, the “cauldron”, where the grapes marc is boiled, is the best occasion for celebration in the traditional villages of Crete.
During your holidays, you will have the chance to taste all the above traditional Cretan products and many more, in delicious Cretan dishes. Visit our Cretico blog to discover the most popular Cretan delicacies, traditional Cretan recipes, as well as the secrets of Cretan cuisine, based on the Mediterranean cuisine.
Since you have already decided what to eat, now, “where to stay” is your main issue. Cretico website offers you a great selection of over 470 villas with private pool in Crete, to choose from. The villas offered to you, respond to every taste and budget, in order for you to enjoy your holidays in the best way.
If you want more details just ask, or leave your comment below!Share with your friends!