Crete: a gastronomic paradise

Greek cuisine is famous all over the world for its fine ingredients and the tasteful traditional dishes. What you probably don’t know is that Cretan cuisine is even more famous and delicious, a part of the Greek cuisine that captivates everyone.

If you love trying new recipes and cuisines and want to live an unforgettable gastronomic experience, then Crete should be your favourite destination. Cretan cuisine, which is part of the Greek cuisine, which is also part of the healthy Mediterranean cuisine, is unique. It is tasty, creative and includes a variety of dishes, made from pure products of the blessed Cretan earth. In the restaurants and Greek taverns of Crete, you will eat delicious seafood as well as appetisers and main dishes with meat and vegetables. It is not an exaggeration to say that Crete is a culinary paradise. Just read the following suggested dishes, and then you can’t wait to come to Crete and eat them!

Don’t leave Crete without trying the signature cheeses of the Cretan villages. They are made from sheep or goat’s milk and are produced in harder (like graviera) or softer varieties (like pichtogalo or myzithra). The most popular dish in Crete, a combination of salad and appetiser, is dakos. Barley rusks, which are soaked in water or olive oil to get softened, are topped with fresh tomato and cheese, feta or myzithra. Salt, oregano, pepper and Cretan olive oil give dakos an exquisite taste.

Fried snails (chochlioi) is a dish that you can find not only in French but also in Cretan cuisine. Fried with flour and hot olive oil, doused with wine and sprinkled with wild rosemary, chochlioi is a special delicacy you should not miss. If you want something more familiar to you, you can try the Cretan cheese pies (kaltsounia), filled with Cretan cheese, sprinkled with rosewater and topped with honey, combining the sweet with the savoury in a different yet delicious dish.

Try also lamb with stamnagathi, a recipe that many awarded restaurants all over Greece serve. Stamnagathi is a wild green vegetable with extraordinary taste, which has become trendy in Greece lately. The lamb is sautéed in hot olive oil and accompanied with stamnagathi and a sauce of fresh lemon. Gamopilafo, literally means the rice of weddings, is traditionally served in Cretan weddings. It is a deluxe risotto with meat, lemon juice and butter from goat’s milk. In thin slices and cold, is served the smoked pork (apaki), which you can find only in Crete and is an amazing ingredient of salads and sandwiches.

Part of the Cretan cuisine are of course the drinks that are offered by the hospitable Cretan people. Raki or tsikoudia is the local version of the famous Greek brandy, tsipouro. It has no anise or herbs, unlike ouzo, is drunk from shot glasses, with no water added, and Cretan people usually accompany raki with mezedes or dakos.