Apart from olive oil, there is one more essential component in the praised Cretan Diet, that is the scrumptious Cretan cheese! Sweet, nutty, sharp, resonant, creamy, solthe incredible flavours and textures of the Cretan cheeses are the result of work, much love and great dedication. Tasting Cretan cheeses will take you on an epicurean journey to its rich history and unique flavours.
The outstanding quality of Cretan cheeses enjoy an excellent reputation worldwide. Their success story began when, according to an old Cretan legend, a goat named Amalthea nursed the infant Zeus with her milk, making dairy products a crucial nutritional component of the Cretan diet. This legend led to Crete’s long tradition of producing dairy products from goat’s and sheep’s milk. Indeed, traditions have not changed much since then, but were only refined to boost the quality of Cretan cheese around the world.
Touring the beautiful island of Crete, you will quickly discover that each village has its signature cheese, which islanders warmly offer to guests. In some cases, that cheese is the famous Graviera, a hard round cheese that is best eaten when aged minimum six months in the caves of the White Mountains, in order to develop its tangy and nutty flavours. Mizithra is another one of those cheeses, fresh and soft, resembling ricotta, and also the main ingredient of the oh-so-deliciously-sweet, Mizithra pie. Finally, another cheese worth discovering is staka, a rather different cheese, somewhere between cheese and yogurt, found exclusively in western Crete. However, as you cannot visit all villages, we suggest making a stop at a central market in Chania, Rethymnon or Heraklion to get a nice selection of the Cretans’ favourite delicacy.