A Land of Unique Tastes

“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness:
a glass of wine, a roast chestnut... nothing else.”

These few and plain words written by Kazantzakis, in Zorba the Greek, encompass the true experience of food and wine in Crete.

The Cretan diet, internationally known as the Mediterranean Diet, has ancient roots which have survived the influences of many colonising forces and preserved the culinary traditions which are widely enjoyed by modern lovers of fine, healthy food.

Cretan cuisine is considered to be the ideal diet associated with longevity. It is highly nutritious, ensures good health and prevents many diseases of the Western world. Its strength lies in the quality and freshness of its ingredients. All meals are basic and wholesome consisting of herbs, olive oil, vegetables, wild greens, fruit, honey, olives, whole grains, pulses and legumes. The people of Crete are very ecologically minded. They cook what is in season, wasting nothing and preserving crops, meat and fish for the winter months.

The temperate climate and fertile soil allow for the cultivation of more than 35 million olive trees. Still hand harvested, using traditional methods, they yield the production of entirely organic and nutritious olive oil - a precious “elixir” of life. The mountainous regions are covered in wild greens, herbs, walnuts and chestnuts. Known for its “cure for all” is the miraculous mountain tea also plentiful on the plains.

Wine cultivation and family-produced raki complete the Cretan cuisine. A glass of either, enjoyed over warm conversation, always accompanies a Cretan meal, adding to the authenticity of the moment.