Crete is an island known for many things: its ancient history, its language, its beauty, its unique fauna and flora, its wine and, of course, its delicious food. Cretan recipes are Mediterranean in nature, meaning they are rich in ingredients like olive oil, cheese and vegetables.
After all, while meat and fish have a very important role to play in Cretan cuisine, the island is also home to a variety of vegetarian dishes that will leave your mouth watering – and will make you want to come back for more!
Take a look at some of the most famous (and tasty) dishes you can find when you visit Crete:
Similar to the Italian bruschetta, Dakos is a filling and nutritional Cretan speciality. This Greek meze is to be served immediately after being prepared and is based on barley rusks, not bread. The rusks are first soaked in water or olive oil and then brushed with grated tomato and topped with grated cheese (feta or mizithra). Olive oil and salt are drizzled on top, together with oregano and pepper.
Simple, delicious, perfect for the whole family!
Dakos – Cretan Koukouvagia
The delicious Cretan version of bruschetta, Dakos is a traditional meze also eaten as a light meal
3 barley rusks
6 tablespoons EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
2 large, ripe tomatoes, peeled and grated
1 cup fèta cheese or mizìthra cheese, grated
Salt to taste
Dip the rusks half-roll slices in water to soak a little and let them stand to drain.
Next, sprinkle them with olive oil and wait, until the oil seeps into the rusk. Salt as much as you wish, according to the saltiness of the feta cheese.
Top with the grated tomato and add the grated feta or mizithra cheese. Serve immediately.
A fennel pie that is to die for! Marathópita is cooked on the pan with a bit of oil, and is a traditional dish that can be found everywhere on the island. This pie if filled with beautifully fresh ingredients that give it a rich, one-of-a-kind flavour, such as fennel, spinach, sorrel and onions.
Some recipes, like the Dakos, you can try at home, as the dish is made from relatively common ingredients; however, others, like stamnankáthi, can only be enjoyed in Crete. Stamnankáthi are herbs that only grow on the island, which makes them incredibly difficult to gather. While they are slightly bitter, they have a pleasant taste that is appreciated by many – in Crete and outside.
Stamnankáthi is typically boiled and served with olive oil and lemon; it can also serve as an accompaniment to egg and meat dishes. So, if you’re looking for authentic Cretan food, what better way to enjoy it than with ingredients that are indigenous to the island?
You don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy this delicious recipe. A courgette and potato pie made in Chania, chaniotiko bouréki is a simple dish with outstanding flavours. The basic ingredients are courgette, potatoes and mizithra cheese, which are then covered by pastry.
Perfect for warmer weather, this dish is ideal for anyone who visits Chania in summer and wishes to explore the best of Cretan cuisine – you can even add a glass of wine or raki to your meal and enjoy a true Cretan experience!
Another pie, this time for dessert! Usually served at the end of a meal, kaltsoúnia is a traditional recipe appreciated throughout the island by many. Although kaltsoúnia is pastry filled with savoury ingredients, like Cretan cheeses, greens and thyme, they are typically served with honey and cinnamon as sweets.
A magic-filled pastry that tantalises the taste buds with its marvellous Mediterranean flavours and combination of sweet and savoury!
Crete is famous throughout the world for its amazing cuisine, and it’s easy to see why! With stunning ingredients and tasty recipes, the island truly sets itself apart when it comes to delivering flavour. You can try these and other unmissable dishes when you visit Crete and leave with unforgettable (and delicious) memories.