The Cretan cuisine is a lot more than just a cuisine. It is a way of life, simple, unadorned, without unnecessary spices, without flavour enhancers; A cuisine that is extremely delicious.
The Cretan cuisine differs from other cuisines because it does not try to mix the flavours, even though the use of different ingredients are a must in order to prepare the daily meal. Each ingredient used keeps its autonomy and maintains both identity and taste coexisting harmoniously and revealing the delicate balances that characterize the cuisine of Crete. What counts in the Cretan Traditional Cuisine is imagination. The Cretans could eat every day wild greens or legumes, but almost never eat the same food.
Historically, looking back to the roots of the Cretan cuisine from antiquity up to modern times no significant changes will be found since only a few new ingredients have been added to those used by the prehistoric inhabitants. The healthy approach to food is not new at all. Even from the Minoan civilization, the Cretans were aware of the health benefits of olive oil, vegetables, olives, herbs and honey. Blessed with the perfect soil, today the locals develop “earth friendly” methods of growing their traditional produce. The organic growers sell their natural products to the restaurants and to locals.
The Cretan cuisine is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. Studies have shown that the residents on Crete have the lowest mortality rates in the world, less cancer and heart attack occurrence and scientists linked these health privileges with the Cretan way of life.
Roasted Pork with wine: Marinated meat with wine, oregano, rosemary, salt, pepper and pepper seeds. Garlic is put in the openings of the meat. The meat is left for one day to soak. Cooked in the oven with olive oil and the mixture of the marinade on top.
Lamb or goat cooked around the fire: Shepherds way of cooking the meat. The animal is skinned and cut into four big pieces, salted and put through wooden skewers. Stones are used to creating a square and the meat is placed on the stones. The fire is lit in the middle and the meat is cooked slowly.
Rabbit with lemon and oregano or rosemary: The rabbit is cut in pieces soaked in wine, onions, salt and pepper, rosemary or oregano and lemon juice. Cooked in a pan and served with roast potatoes with oregano.
Chicken with Yogurt: The chicken soaks in lemon juice cooked in the oven with salt, pepper, olive oil, butter and a little water. When is cooked the yoghurt with two or three beaten eggs and a little water is poured over the chicken and put back in the oven for a while.
Kid goat with olive oil and oregano: The pieces of goat are boiled until all liquids are absorbed. Then is fried in olive oil and then and wine. Flour diluted in water with salt, pepper and lemon is added. Served with fried potatoes.
Aubergine pie with olives: Aubergines but in cubes, onions, garlic, olive oils, basil, parsley, feta cheese, tomatoes cut in small pieces, beaten eggs, salt and pepper, rice are the ingredients that fill the layers of pastry, put in a tray forming a circle.
Snails in red sauce with fried potatoes: The snails are boiled in water with olive oil, onions, salt and pepper, and tomatoes which are cut in small pieces. The fried potatoes are added in the pan after the snails are cooked.
Dakos: A traditional Cretan salad with round barley Rusk which is produced in Crete. The rusks are softened with a little water, olive oil, fresh tomatoes cut in small pieces. On top, a Cretan salted mizithra (sheep or goat cheese) is placed.
Fish with olive oil and Oregano: The fish is cut into pieces, cooked in the oven with sliced potatoes around it. Oregano, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper and a little water sprinkled on the fish.
Stuffed Squids: The squids are stuffed with a mixture of their tentacles which are cut in small pieces, spring onions, onions, rice, prunes, olive oil, nutmeg, dill, salt and pepper. Closed firmly on the top with a large toothpick. Boiled and then put on a tray without the excess water. Sprinkled with olive oil and lemon and then cooked for a while in the oven.
Kalitsounia: Delicious small round oven baked pastries usually filled with unsalted mizithra cheese and topped with honey and cinnamon but can also be made with herbs filling.
Xerotigana: Rosebud shape pastries fried then dipped in honey or syrup and sprinkled with pieces of almond
Raki or Tsikoudia: A Strong local alcoholic beverage made of distilled grapes. In winter Raki with honey is preferred and is called Rakomelo. Widely accepted as the traditional drink of Crete and the landmark of Cretans hospitality.
Wines: The excellent fertile soil of Crete produces unique quality grapes from which award-winning wines are produced.