Whether you’re visiting the cultural island of Crete for the festive season, or you just fancy adding a little Cretan flavour to your traditional Christmas dinner – there is no denying that when it comes to celebrating, the people of Crete know how to party!
From tasty treats, beautiful gifts and glorious festivals; the winter period is full of everything you can possibly imagine to get you in the festive spirit. So, let’s start with the food!
Crete is extremely well-known for its beautiful and flavoursome foods, providing dish after dish of local cuisine, produce and tantalising sweets that’ll make you want to re-create the flavours you discover in the comfort of your own home.
Christmas bread – Christopsomo
There is no better bread to bake for the holiday season than the deliciously traditional and Cretan Christmas Bread, named Christopsomo. The bread is slightly sweet, light and buttery and infused with the warming flavours of Christmas; such as cinnamon, orange and cloves.
The bread melts in your mouth, and is the bread that many Cretan families eat for Christmas breakfast or as a snack, whatever your religion! Christopsomos in Greek means Christ’s bread and really is one of the most popular additions to a traditional Cretan Christmas.
2 pounds of flour
1 piece yeast
1 ½ cup of olive oil
3 cups of tea sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon cloves crushed
1 teaspoon crushed mahlepi
1 teaspoon anise
1 teaspoon coriander
2 pieces of gum (crushed with a little sugar)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of orange juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup of sesame
In a bowl, dissolve the yeast with two teacups of lukewarm water, and add half the flour and a little oil. Work the mixture to absorb the liquid until it becomes thin dough.
Cover with a warm cotton towel and leave in a warm place. Boil half a cup of water with coriander and anise, strain and leave to cool.
When the dough has doubled in volume, add the sugar, salt, spices, the remaining olive oil, the juice from the cooked coriander and anise, orange juice and finally the remaining flour – and mix with the baking powder.
Knead the mixture with quick and powerful movements (if you put it in the mixer, set it to work on medium speed). Tip: If the dough is too thin, add a little extra flour.
When dough is smooth, cover with two cotton towels and leave to rise in a warm place (until it doubles in volume).
Once raised, divide the dough into quarters for 4 pieces of round Christopsoma. Place a nut and sprinkle of sesame on the top centre, and bake the loaves onto two oiled sheets for 45 – 55 minutes at 180C, until golden brown.
Here at Pure Crete, we understand the importance of a family holiday, no matter what the season, and are proud to be one of the leading providers of quality holidays in Crete. For more information, or to speak to one of our friendly and helpful team – please do not hesitate to contact us on 01444 880 404 today!