Experience one of the oldest cuisines in CreteBy Niamh Duffy -
Crete has one of the oldest and most tasteful cuisines in the world with the continuations of traditional flavours, ingredients and styles dating all the way back to the Minoan times Archaeological findings show that 4000 years ago ancient Cretans consumer more or less the same products as Cretans today. With its high-quality Mediterranean cuisine Cretans actually have the highest longevity rate and lowest mortality rate from conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
The Cretan cuisine is not considered rich in terms of variety of ingredients and is based on what the land has to offer. Focus is placed on the art of cooking and the processing of simple ingredients. It does not try to mix flavours, irrespective of the variety of ingredients – each ingredient maintains its identity and flavour. They all co-exist in harmony, highlighting this fine balance that defines the Cretan cuisine and the island in general.
Cretans feeds on the products of their land: plenty of fruit and vegetables, greens and legumes… while cheese holds a special place on the table. Herbs and plants picked from the mountains add flavour to everyday food, with the cuisine often describe as imaginative and creative.
As you tour around the villages where ever you turn your head you will see the holy alliance that lies at the heart of the Mediterranean diet: every vineyard is always next to an olive grove. Olive oil has been used in Crete since the Minoan times, replacing butter or other kinds of oils. Its value is immense, given that it is the most powerful antioxidant found in nature.
Wine is the basic ingredient of companionship and socialising. Cretans drink together, laugh together and talk together. Drinking wine is a traditional way of life and has become a part of the culture, with wine accompanying both lunch and dinner. But remember, Cretans never drink alone so be sure to try some for yourself on your trip to Crete!
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