Crete Gastronomy

Gastronomy, with its Greek roots in the words of stomach and law, encompasses the importance of food within a culture and the appreciation and enjoyment of the act of eating while setting a broad set of “rules” on the art of dining, preparing and understanding human nutrition. While the term was not introduced until the 19th century, it is widely used nowadays. Overall, it encapsulates the cuisine and culture of a particular region during different periods and describes that which makes it unique. When it comes to the island of Crete, it is impossible not to mention the long history spanning centuries and focus on fresh and simple flavours that yet effortlessly complement each other. Crete offers a traditional Mediterranean cuisine which while similar to the rest of Greece, is uniquely its own.

As a land, Crete is blessed with a diverse landscape and fruitful soil. From ancient years, Cretans had established trade routes, supplying grains, wine and honey to neighbouring cities. As a matter of fact, the oldest known wine press has been discovered in Eastern Crete in the village of Palaiokastro. In Crete, like most of Greece, the presence of wine on the dinner table has been established for centuries. Drinking small quantities with food or during social gatherings was considered good for the health and the soul, and not seen purely as an alcoholic beverage.

The gastronomic traditions of Crete are focused on fresh fruits and vegetables, wild herbs, homemade or locally produced dairy products in moderate quantities as well as fresh fish and seafood from the Aegean and the Libyan Sea. While poultry and red meat are present in most popular modern dishes, their consumption was often limited both for health reasons as well as due to the high cost. One thing that flowed in abundance then as does now, is surely extra virgin oil. The Cretan diet favours good quality olive oil on salads, dips, and in most cooked food. Cheese, honey and yoghurt often combined, as well as seasonal fruits make up the most commonly enjoyed desserts. However, pastries and particularly pies are not missing from a standard Cretan diet either, whether one prefers a local greens pie “Marathopita” or sweet cheese and honey “kalitsounia“.

Best Restaurants in Crete

Best Restaurants in Crete

There are some amazing restaurants in Crete that visitors can look forward to. An island of incredible beauty, diverse landscapes and stunning beaches, Crete is known for its traditional dishes and local raki drink. From fresh vegetables and herbs to the hearty meat dishes and excellent cheeses, Crete is an amazing culinary destination. Here are some of the best restaurants you will find in the main cities of Chania and Rethymno. Avgo tou Kokkora (The Rooster’s Egg) An all-day restaurant-cum-bar,…

Read More Read More

Wineries in Crete

Wineries in Crete

In the wineries of Crete, the tradition of winemaking is still handed down from generation to generation. With a history that spans more than 4000 years, Crete is one of the oldest wine-producing areas in Europe. Drinking, in general, is considered a social activity and often accompanies all main meals or gatherings with friends and family. A good glass of wine compliments the food it is served with and gathers people around the table for lively discussion and celebrations.

Best Wineries in Rethymno – Crete

Best Wineries in Rethymno – Crete

Rethymno is one of the regional units of Crete island, nestled between Heraklion and Chania. It is an ideal holiday destination, with fantastic beaches, a charming Old Town and major tourist attractions, whether you are looking for culture, history, nature or a combination of everything.

Best Wineries in Lassithi – Crete

Best Wineries in Lassithi – Crete

The region of Lassithi on eastern Crete is one of the most remote and undiscovered by domestic and international visitors. It is an unspoilt paradise with stunning beaches and a great place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds.

Best Wineries in Heraklion – Crete

Best Wineries in Heraklion – Crete

The region of Heraklion on the island of Crete has some of the best-regarded and most prolific wineries on the island. Wine lovers or those simply curious in exploring the tradition of winemaking in Crete will be spoilt for choice. Winemakers are organized in a network and have set up road signs advertising the “Wine Roads” in the region. Most wineries are located in the areas of Archanes, Peza and Dafnoneno, further west the route also passes through Moires and…

Read More Read More

Best Wineries in Chania – Crete

Best Wineries in Chania – Crete

The most important wine-producing areas of the prefecture of Chania are located in the northwestern part. The “Wine Road” traverses the areas of Kissamos, Kolymbari, Mousouroi and Voukolies, passing through beautiful landscapes and historic sites. Wine-lovers have the opportunity to get to know the modern products of wineries in the Chania area at the Cretan Wine Festival held each year, usually in spring. Karavitakis vineyards The winery of Karavitaki Vineyards is located in Pontikiana in the area of ​​Kolymvari in…

Read More Read More

Cretan Cheese

Cretan Cheese

Cheese is consumed in Crete at any hour of the day – from morning to midnight – as an accompaniment or as the main ingredient, as an appetizer or for dessert. At a formal gathering or the family table, no Cretan meal is complete without cheese. Cretans will take their watermelon with feta, their honeydew with graviera and consume mizithra with honey!

Cretan Herbs & Wild Greens

Cretan Herbs & Wild Greens

Botanical studies show that Crete has one of the richest and most interesting ecosystems in Europe, with a huge number of endemic (native only to Crete) plants. For example, Malotira (Siderites syriaca) and Diktamos (Oreganum dictamnus), the latter known in antiquity for its antiseptic properties.

Wines of Crete

Wines of Crete

In the Minoan period, Crete had already emerged as one of the most important wine-growing regions, with quality products and a healthy production of famous grapevine varieties.

Cretan Olive Oil

Cretan Olive Oil

Olive oil, apart from its great nutritional value, contains natural antioxidants (substances that protect our bodies from the harmful effects of free radicals). The properties of olive oil were already appreciated in antiquity when great physicians like Hippocrates and Galen discovered its beneficial effects on humans.

Cretan Diet

Cretan Diet

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.