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Cretan Food: Food in Crete to Try
The ancient island of Crete is the biggest in Greece. A huge tourist-destination, as well as favorite with locals, it’s also home to some of the best farms and food suppliers in the country.
Food in Crete is wholesome and tasty, using locally-sourced natural ingredients that are often in season. To whet your appetite, we’ve picked out ten of our favorite foods from the iconic island of Crete.
Read more: A local’s insight to Greek tavernas
In Crete they call it ‘liquid gold’, as you might have discovered at any restaurant you enter. Indeed, the Cretans are some of the biggest suppliers (and consumers) of olive oil, enjoying on average a whopping 31 litres per personally annually!
For food lovers, a wine and olive oil tour is the perfect way to learn more about this national staple, and understand why it plays such an important role in the Crete way of life.
Native to southern Crete – Sfakia – to be precise, is this drool-worthy pie. The dough has a distinctive taste to it… undoubtedly due to the liquor-infused in it, quite typically Raki! Pies can contain various cheese fillings, from goats to sheep’s cheese, and will often have a smattering of honey and rosemary for that unmistakably Cretan sweet aftertaste.
You might be surprised to know that Crete leads the way in the volume of cheese consumption! For this reason, perhaps, cheese is a must-try food when visiting the island.
There is plenty of great cheese to sample, including Kefalotyri Kritis – a goat and sheep mix with distinctive holes. Or perhaps you’re more fond of the local favorite – Graviera – this rich lingering flavor and the sweet aftertaste is owing to the sheep’s milk used.
Once you’ve sampled cheese from Crete, the next step is one of their golden pies. The Kaltsounia is a yummy delight using handmade pastry dough and filled with local oozing cheese. But just when you thought you were getting something simple, the Crete twist comes in – the pie is topped with honey for a sweet finish.
You can’t avoid Dakos on a trip to Crete. This popular food is their local take on a Greek salad. It includes bruschetta, grated cheese, sheep’s cheese and barley rusks, as well as oregano as you’d expect. The result is a delicious salad you won’t mind tucking in to.
Lamb (Crete -Style)
Stamnagathi is the key ingredient in this lamb dish, served the Crete way. This wild green, reminiscent of seaweed, is the preserve of five-star establishments making it very trendy in food circles.
This forms the main filled that the lamb is stuffed with, before being fried in olive oil and a smattering of Greek spices. Served with a Greek-size wedge of lemon, it brings all your food dreams to life!
Meat fans take note, Apaki is salted pork meat with a strong smoky taste. Left to marinade in strong vinegar, this is one to avoid for anyone who suffers from heartburn!
Adventurous food types need only apply. This snail dish, yes snails, is a tradition for the strong-stomached! Snails are floured and deep fried with a sprinkling or rosemary, before being served up to willing takers. Crete has many…
In Crete, it’s not just about great food – there’s plenty of great drinks too, including Brandy. A popular tipple, this is best sampled after the grape harvest and definitely not to be confused with the other local drink – Raki!
Often drunk out of shot glasses, the local brew is easy to stumble across in any local restaurant or café, as a warming nightcap.
This elaborate name is simply a rich creamy rice dish that is typically eaten at a local Crete wedding. Such is the fondness for the dish, you’re likely to stumble across it in many of the tavernas on the island. Think of it as Crete’s version of Risotto!
Check out our Crete food Guide blog
A team of foodies, cooks, and travelers. Alios Tours was founded out of our passion for Greek food. We share the delicious side of Greece.