01 Apr What’s so special about the food here in Crete?
Well it’s hard to say really! We reckon it’s a combination of the place, the climate, the “terroir”, the incredibly long food history, dating back hundreds, maybe even thousands of years and of course the people and their outlook. Foodie holidays in Greece may be a relatively new thing, but the food traditions here are age-old!
A long history
The point with Crete is that the people still eat what their ancestors ate hundreds of years back. They eat wild edible greens collected during long walks, snails and different bean varieties. They use barley rusks instead of bread with their meals, make “Kalitsounia” – little pies with dough rather than filo pastry – and fry them. They prefer the local cheeses and herbs, avoid veal and celebrate with lamb or goat. Cretans eat cheese with honey and put olive oil everywhere – even in desserts. And, of course, they continue to cook at home in the same simple way their great grandmothers did! The result is a naturally sustainable way of life and we love it.
The list of Cretan products with protected designation of origin is long and in the course of our cookery workshops you’ll have a chance to sample most of these local delicacies and discover their gastronomic history. if you come on one of our foodie holidays in Greece, you’ll be able to take part in the workshops and relax and enjoy the results.
The geomorphology in Greece is very diverse – fact! Within short distances from one place to the next, the microclimate changes. The unique climate conditions and the biodiversity in each area influence the flavours of the local products differently, so the main food products of Greece wine, cheese, honey, olive oil and olives, legumes and pulses as well as fruits and vegetables often taste different depending on the “terroir”. Nothing grows particularly easily here – harvests and production volumes are low but the flavours are strong, thick with aromas, concentrated.
Quite naturally Greek cuisine is a combination between the Italian and the Arabic cuisines (Lebanese, Iranian etc)
In Crete the diet consists of mainly pulses, vegetables and fruits. Dairy comes next, fish, chicken and eggs follow and red meat only occasionally. Traditionally Greeks used to eat meat only a few times each month, most likely on a Sunday and usually in the form of a stew/casserole with plenty of vegetables, accompanied by handmade pasta or rice. Grilled or roast meat was served during celebrations.
Elaborate desserts were only prepared during festive periods. The daily agenda included simple desserts like the fried dough with honey, nuts and honey, dried fruit or yoghurt and honey!
Share it on one of our foodie holidays in Greece
Food is not only a means of survival here, it is the foundation of the entire Greek culture. People are truly dedicated to eating and drinking and will spend long hours preparing and even longer sitting with family and friends to enjoy a meal. It’s this limitless enthusiasm for cooking and eating, and the positive benefits that it brings that lies at the heart of the way of life here. We’d love to be able to bottle it and sell it… but we can invite you to come and share it. Find out more about our foodie holidays in Greece.
A long life!
And of course, the people of Crete are well known for their long lives. What’s the secret? Is it the olive oil or the sunshine or the red wine or the fresh fruit and vegetables brimming with life? Is it the long lazy meals with plenty of animated conversation? Or is it perhaps the complete package?