Using ancient ingredients and recipes, traditional Cretan cuisine is considered to be among the healthiest in the world. Islanders’ eating habits have helped maintain a very high life expectancy and very low rates of heart disease. According to scientific research, the Cretan diet is recognized by the international scientific community as the best example of the Mediterranean diet, which contributes to maintaining health and longevity.
Because of its geographical and strategic position, Crete has become a crossroads of three continents. So many people and cultures came into contact. Thus, Cretan cuisine was heavily influenced by the cooking habits of all these peoples. The wealth and quality of Cretan soil supply a wide range of local products and ingredients. These ingredients are used to create the most delicious recipes, which are popular for their taste, aroma, freshness, and above all quality.
Olive oil, wild greens, vegetables, beans, lentils, fish, meat, seafood, herbs, wine, and tsikoudia are the main ingredients of Cretan cuisine. A wide variety of cheeses, especially Cretan graviera, cream cheese and mizithra, are also fundamental to the Cretan diet. This is along with other local products such as yogurt, honey and various fruits.
I recommend graviera (local cheese), escargots, dolmades, goat, and apaki (smoked pork meat). Don’t leave the island without drinking tsikoudia and local microbrewery beers. Last but not least, don’t forget to bring home some olive oil!