The Cretan diet is an extension of an almost sacrosanct approach and mindset the Cretans have towards hospitality. The traditional dishes and style of eating habitually enjoyed in Crete come from what their soil so generously produces: oil, wheat, wine, honey, wild greens and aromatic herbs; these are the basics of the Cretan cuisine.
In recent years, lengthy scientific research has proven that the diet’s properties and nutritional values can greatly benefit one’s health. It is also recognized by the international scientific community as the most characteristic and high-quality version of the so-called Mediterranean pattern of eating. The Mediterranean diet, with its stress on vegetables, nuts, fruits and grains – together with the use of olive oil – is known to contribute to a long and healthy life.
One of the most impressive facts about the Cretan cuisine is that it has remained relatively unchanged since the Minoan period, thousands of years ago. As one of the oldest and most palatable culinary traditions in the world, with a variety of delicious and aromatic delights, the Cretan diet focuses on fresh, local produce and recipes that are simple yet packed with flavor. The richness and the quality of the island’s products down the centuries have created a unique diet, fresh and unadulterated that is hard to replicate elsewhere, even within Greece. The pure and diverse soil of Crete island contains all the necessary raw ingredients as well as the human know-how to create unique tastes. They are mostly tied to the seasons’ cycle and the natural environment of the island.
The ingredients may be simple, but the quality is what makes all the difference. The fresh milk that becomes anthotiros, the wild and untamed forests that host the bees making honey, and the aromatic herbs that flourish on the valleys and Cretan mountains form the basis of the miracle that is Cretan cooking. All across the island – in hotels, restaurants, traditional tavernas and raki-joints (rakadika), and even in small village, kafenio is way off the beaten track, you will have the chance to taste special dishes – always based only on local produce.