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April 22, 2024

A Foodie’s Guide to Crete: Must-Try Dishes and Local Cuisine

A delightful foodie’s guide to Crete, focusing on the must-try dishes and local cuisine. Whether you’re exploring the charming town of Agios Nikolaos or the picturesque Elounda, Crete offers a culinary adventure that will delight your taste buds.

Olive Oil: The Liquid Gold of Crete

Crete is synonymous with olive oil. It’s not just an ingredient; it’s a way of life. Locals swear by its health benefits, rich antioxidants, and exquisite taste. Visit one of the many olive oil farms on the island to taste the unique extra-virgin olive oil that sets Crete apart.

Plenty of Seasonal Vegetables

Cretan cuisine celebrates the harmony between vegetables and seasons. From early spring to winter, you will find a range of fresh products. Think peas, asparagus, courgettes, fava (split peas), beans, peppers, aubergines, cucumbers, fennel, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, okra, carrots, broccoli, beetroot, cauliflower, spinach, and even avocado! Yes, avocado grows here too, surprising and delighting food enthusiasts.

Traditional Cretan Dishes

  1. Kleftiko: Slow-cooked lamb that falls off the bone, infused with herbs and spices.
  2. Dolmades: Stuffed vine leaves filled with a flavorful mixture of rice, herbs, and sometimes minced meat.
  3. Souvlaki: Grilled meats (usually pork or chicken) served with pita bread, potatoes, and tzatziki.
  4. Kalitsounia: These delightful sweet cheese pies are a Cretan specialty, often filled with local cheeses and herbs.
  5. Apaki: Smoked pork with a distinct flavor that’s worth trying.

The Original Mediterranean Diet

Cretan cuisine is often hailed as the original Mediterranean diet. It’s abundant in seasonal fruits, vegetables, and, of course, that heavenly olive oil. The simplicity of seasoning—salt, pepper, and a twist of lemon—creates complete and satisfying flavors. Plus, the health benefits are undeniable.

Where to Indulge

Whether you’re in the Venetian old towns of Chania and Rethymno, exploring Heraklion, or relaxing in Agios Nikolaos or Elounda, Crete has something to offer. Visit local tavernas, orchards, local farms and seaside eateries to savor the authentic flavors of this enchanting island.

Remember, every bite in Crete is infused with meraki—that special love, joy and creativity that makes Cretan dishes truly unforgettable.

“Kali Orexi!”


Embark on a culinary journey through the heart of Crete!

Find your house to stay in Agios Nikolaos or in Elounda here below:

Category: Travel Blog
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