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Secrets of the Cretan Diet

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The Cretan diet is rooted deeply in antiquity. It has survived under difficult conditions during the conquest of the island by the Arabs, the Venetians and the Turks. Crete maintained its dietary traditions even during the Hellenistic period, when the Romans changed the eating habits of the entire Mediterranean.

More than 4,000 years ago the ancient Cretans, the Minoans, consumed the products that today are the basis for the Cretan diet. All of the research done internationally supports the view that the Cretan diet is the best and most characteristic case of the Mediterranean diet. Modern nutritional science indicates that the Mediterranean diet provides for long life and good health.

Dairy products, primarily cheeses, hold an important place in the Cretan cuisine in which snails are one of the favorite dishes. Cretan bread usually includes two kinds of flour grain, wheat and barley, while paximadi are a daily pleasure. Spices and aromatic herbs are included in the food, but are used with discretion. Cretans are nourished by the products of their own land:  horticultural products like greens, vegetables, legumes and fruit. They accompany their food with wine from the vineyards and use vast quantities of the elixir of a healthy life, olive oil, from Crete’s golden fruit. Tοday, Crete enjoys one of the world’s most ancient, delicious and healthy cuisines…

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) products:

ProductDesignation of Origin or
Geographical indication
Olive oilViannos (PDO)Heraklion
Olive oil Peza (PDO)Heraklion
Olive oil Acharnes (PDO)Heraklion
Olive oil Thrapsano (PDO)Heraklion
Olive oil Messara (PDO)Heraklion
Olive oil North Milopotamos (PDO)Rethymno
Olive oil Chania (PGI)Chania
Olive oil Kolimvari (PDO)Chania
Olive oil Apokoronas (PDO)Chania
Olive oil Selino (PDO) Chania
Olive oil Sitia (PDO) Lasithi
Fruits, vegetables, dried nutsOranges of Maleme (PDO) Chania
Fruits, vegetables, dried nuts Soultanina raisins (PDO) Chania, Lasithi, Rethymno, Heraklion
Olives Throumba of Ambadia (PDO) Rethymno
Cheese Graviera of Crete (PDO) Chania, Lasithi, Rethymno, Heraklion
Cheese Xinomizithra of Crete (PDO) Chania, Lasithi, Rethymno, Heraklion
Cheese Pichtogalo (PDO) Chania
Cheese Xigalo (PDO) Lasithi
BakeryCretan paximadi (PDO) Chania, Lasithi, Rethymno, Heraklion
Honey Cretan Thyme & Pine honey (PDO) Chania, Lasithi, Rethymno, Heraklion
Wine Archanes (PDO) Heraklion
Wine Daphnes (PDO) Heraklion
Wine Peza (PDO) Heraklion
Wine Sitia and Malvazia of Sitia (PDO) Lasithi
Wine Chandakas, Candia & Malvazia Chandakas, Candia (PDO) Heraklion
Wine Crete (PGI)Crete
Wine Lasithi (PDO) Crete
Wine Heraklion (PDO) Heraklion
Wine Rethymno (PDO) Rethymno
Wine Chania (PDO) Chania
Wine Kissamos (PDO) Chania
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a little boy smiling happily at the camera and holding a wood bucket with vegetables from at Perivolaki farm

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