Hoping that this year we will be able to enjoy our Summer vacations on a relaxing place, Covid-free and care-free, research on destinations has already started. Crete, a magical island of Greece, is on the travel list of many people around the globe, being not only a place of great natural beauty, historic value and rich in traditions, but also a “must” culinary destination!
Greece’s biggest island, located at the Southern edge of Aegean Sea, is well known for its various PDO products and unique flavors one can experience there.
1. Olive Oil – Olives – Cheese
Cretan PDO products include extra virgin olive oil that has a rich flavor and meets the quality standards.
In Rethymno, Crete, a type of olives named “Throumpa Ampadias Rethymnis Kritis” is cultivated as a PDO product, that has a black color and is not processed by humans. Plus, Crete is also proud of its cheese assortment, producing “Graviera”, “Xynomizithra”, “Pichtogalo” and “Xygalo”.
2. Cretan Oranges
“Maleme” oranges number among the tastier oranges in the world, as they are totally unique and cultivated only in a specific part of Crete, Chania. They are sweet, juicy, highly nutritious oranges of medium size.
Because of those characteristics and their originality, “Maleme” oranges are the only Greek PDO citrus fruit.
4. Cretan “Paximadi”
If you have never heard of Cretan Paximadi, you may have heard of “Dakos”, a very popular salad of Crete that is based on this product and contains tomato, olive oil, oregano, and feta.
“Paximadi” is a hard bread found in many varieties, that, among others, can be consumed for breakfast, with marmalade and honey, or as an appetizer, with cheese and veggies.
Last but not least, Cretans know how to enjoy life, and wine could not be missing from this list. Cretan wine is produced in various areas of the island, such as Heraklion and Lasithi, so if you are interested in wine tourism, you will not get easily bored!
Having high quality labels and being combined with traditional delicacies, those wines will definitely not disappoint you.
1. Sfakiani Pita
Greeks love pies, and each and every destination in this country has its own varieties of pies. In Crete, one of them is called “Sfakiani Pita”, and one could say that it is similar to a crepe, as it is based on a thin dough, unlike most Greek pies.
Originally, it is filled with the Cretan cheese named “Mizithra”, and it is cooked with olive oil, salt, water, and the famous drink of the island, “Raki”.
“Kalitsounia” or “Skaltsounia” are cutely shaped, soft, and sweet cheese pastries, that excellently combine the sweet and sour elements. Traditionally they are made with “Mizithra”, drizzled with honey, and sprinkled with cinnamon.
If you are excited to taste them asap but do not have access to the Cretan cheese, try making them with another soft cheese like ricotta.
3. Chochlioi (Fried Snails)
Although for many people this is not an attractive dish at all, Chochlioi are a very popular food in Crete. An incentive to give them a chance should be that they are considered to be a super-food with nutrients of high value and very low in fat.
Usually, Cretans fry them with olive oil, salt, and rosemary.
4. Kreatotourta (Meat Pie)
If you have not realized it by now, Cretans love pies and doughs! “Kreatotourta” is another unique dish of Crete, originally made in Chania.
This pie is mostly baked after Easter, using the remaining lamb, and its other main ingredients are cheeses, such as “Graviera” and “Mizithra” that were mentioned above, along with a crusty dough sprinkled with sesame.