Cretan Diet

Famed and in great demand are the products of eastern Crete today, and have been so since the ancient years. Since the time of Minos, local wine and olive-oil would travel to all the then known world, the Mediterranean and the East, and would be sent as a gift to royalty and princes. Today these products circulate dynamically in the international markets, and are often awarded world prizes and distinctions - such as, for example, the olive-oil of Sitia and Kritsa, the wines, the honey, and the traditional sweets, many of which are organic. Lassithi olive oil is considered to be the best in the world!

The free-range raising and rich grazing grounds of goats and sheep at the mountains make all the difference in the renowned meat and in the delicious dairy products of this region. Mizithra (skim milk cheese), anthotiros (cream cheese), kefalotiri (kind of hard cheese), galotiri (whey), graviera (Gruyère), feta cheese, yoghurt, ksigalo (curdled milk), ksinomizithra (sour milk cheese), voutiros (butter) and the other select dairy products are in great demand. The garden produce and fruit of Lassithi is also outstanding, and it is exported to European countries, whereas the centre of its production, Ierapetra, is called “the vegetable garden of Europe”!

The age-old tradition of home cooking and pastry-making has passed today over to certified workshops making traditional sweets and dishes, but also to traditional taverns and coffee shops dispersed in all the towns and villages of the prefecture, even to modern and plushy restaurants offering dishes of excellent quality and taste. Gastronomy is an art in Lassithi, and it is no accident that the Greek Academy of Taste, the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics of the Technological Education Institute (T.E.I.) of Crete, as well as the Cretan Cuisine Centre, have their offices in the Lassithi prefecture, where they study the huge wealth of the Cretan diet and teach the Cretan cuisine, whereas they enrich knowledge, guarantee authenticity, and promote dissemination − of this celebrated universal good associated to human health and longevity.