enjoy the mediterranean diet

Local food & signature dishes

“Don’t look for a pill that can substitute the Cretan Diet. There is no such thing”
Serge Renaud (Medical Researcher), 1998

In the past decades, Cretan Diet has become a research theme for medical conferences and it is suggested that it is linked to good health and longevity.

Cretan Cuisine is based on products deriving from the motherland; fruits, vegetables, pulses, and herbs are deliciously combined with goat meat, creating most imaginative dishes that aren’t found anywhere else in Greece. Moreover, the local cheeses are offered in a big variety, but Cretan graviera cheese holds the reins and has been recognised as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product. To top it all, Crete’s extra-virgin olive oil, which is used in large quantities in all kind of foods and sweets, is the island’s champion!

Cretan hospitality consists of eating on set tables with deliciously large quantities of food and delicacies: barley rusks with grated tomato, topped with xinomyzithra cheese; mashed broad beans (fava beans) with olive oil and finely chopped onion; graviera cheese; staka (butter-cream); simmered snails (hohlii bourbouristi in Greek) in vinegar and rosemary; aromatic fennel pie; vinegar sausages and apaki (smoked meat) are just some of the delicious stuff you’ll take pleasure in savouring right before the mouthwatering main dishes arrive!

villamariacrete cretan cuisine

Try out the lamb fricassee with spiny chicory (stamnagkathi) or golden thistle (a wild native plant, known as ascholymprous in Greek, of which Cretan’s use its bulb); lamb with artichokes; sauté or simmered rabbit in wine; wild goat cooked in a pan or roasted on a stick (you can ask for it “rifi tsigariasto or ofto” in Greek); gamopilafo rice (rice cooked in meat broth usually served at weddings); snails with trachana; sioufichta pasta with dried myzithra cheese and many more dishes you’ll definitely enjoy. There are large number of delicious recipes you must savour on the island but don’t forget to accompany them with Crete’s palatable strong aromatic wines.