Citrus fruits were said to be a gift from the Gods
With one of the healthiest diets in the Mediterranean, it seems fitting that many foods in Cretan gastronomy are said to have been gifts from the Gods. According to the legends, citrus fruit was a gift offered by the Earth at the wedding of Zeus and Hera, and wine is said to come from the great god Dionysos. A wine press thought to be over 3,500 years old has been discovered here.
Olive oil is produced and served with pride. Salads are doused in it, and Cretans believe strongly in its health benefits. With grains, legumes, cheese and honey, this is a diet that hasn’t changed drastically since the Minoan period.
Main courses often include slow roasted goat or poultry, accompanied by locally produced tomatoes, peppers and courgettes. A lot of meals are accompanied by bread. In Crete, bread is hard and dark, and baked from barley and rye. It is sometimes served as a delicious starter topped with some chopped tomato, cheese, olive oil and oregano.
Tsikoudia, or Raki, is often served with meals too, a clear and fragrant alcoholic beverage drunk straight and ice cold. Made from the crushed grapes left behind from the wine making process, Tsikoudia is particularly popular in the autumn, accompanied with a few chestnuts.
Olive oil is served with pride in Crete