Crete overflows with flavourful dishes and during our 10 days there, we only discovered exquisite food. The Cretan cuisine is gourmet, fresh, tasty and deserves to be shared.
As soon as we arrived, we tasted the famous Ouzo, which is the traditional Cretan aperitif. We could compare it to the French ricard / pastis but the aniseed taste is more delicate which makes the drink lighter and with a whitish color. The glass of Ouzo was accompanied by a plate of hummus and black olives, which had nothing to do with what we are used to eat. For the rest of the meal, we had a dish of okra with other vegetables. It was the first time we tasted this vegetable and we were pleasantly surprised. This dish looked like a kind of ratatouille.
The next morning for breakfast we ate some Dakos. Dakos are a kind of toast of dry bread with crushed tomatoes and crumbled feta. A trickle of olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano finished this dish. Since our return from Crete we often do this dish at home for the aperitif. The tea served was a mixture of herbs and plants from the Cretan mountains. The smell of the tea was intoxicating. We had never tasted such a good infusion.
The holiday continued and the culinary discoveries with it. Among many dishes, we tested the fresh orange juices offered along the roads, the homemade lemonades with lemons directly picked from their garden, the honey sold in the small shops, the olives, tapenade, feta and other cheese specialities.
During one evening in Chania, Alice, whom we had met through the Couchsurfing website, introduced us to others food specialities. Thanks to her, we drank cold coffee and cold chocolate for the first time. These drinks are very popular in Crete (especially the coffee) and Cretan people drink them at any time of the day. She also showed us the dolmadakias. Vine leaves filled with rice and vegetables or meats compose this dish. To finish the evening, she ordered a bottle of raki and rakomelo (it is raki but with honey in it). Raki is the traditional Cretan alcohol. All the restaurants offer it at the end of the meal.
In Rethymno, we have tasted the famous loukoumadhes, which are a kind of donuts sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. They are made on demand and have to be eaten when they are still warm.
It was also the first time I ate sea urchin and I absolutely loved it.
We really enjoyed the Cretan diet and we discovered so many good things. The generosity of the restaurateurs, who often offer a small starter to share and a dessert with raki when we asked the addition, made our stay in this country unforgettable.
Here are some places we recommend when visiting Crete.
- next to Chania: Taverna Provlita, only a facebook account Taverna Provlita. This restaurant by the sea has only Cretan speciality dishes and especially fish and seafood. This is where I ate sea urchins.
- Malia: Mylos Taverna. Very busy restaurant even in low season. The food is excellent.
For the loukoumadhes: Gaias Gefseis, 15 Ethnikis Antistaseos, Rethymnon.
To buy traditional products: the small village of Spili has plenty of shops where you can buy homemade products such as infusions, raki, ouzo, honey and cosmetics at a small price.
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