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be inspired by the local dishes

This page will one day become a website on it’s own.  This is just the beginning.  Thank you for the inspiration and photographs from my cretan house and the olive farm.  Some of the text is from others with the source mentioned, all the photographs are from our contributors and ourselves. 

We’d love to receive and add many more inspirational photographs and recipes here, especially your own local ones, just write to us.

dakos – ντάκος

The most known Cretan salad is what we call kritikos dakos. It is delicious, it is healthy, it is the ultimate representation of the Mediterranean diet, straight from Crete.

First of all it’s been described as a Greek bruschetta, but it isn’t, it is a bit different. Here’s what it is: Dakos specifically refers to a recipe that uses the famous Cretan barley rusks. These rusks are made with whole grain barley flour, water and salt. They are super hard and super healthy. Also dakos includes olive oil, tomato, and crumbled cheese, traditionally this cheese is Cretan mitzithra but you often see it (outside of Crete) made with feta.


black eyed bean salad – σαλάτα φασόλια μαυρομάτικα 

This post is inspired by the black eyed bean salad from Monica’s taverna and was written by My Cretan House : Comfort food doesn’t get more comfort that this. I found white balsamic vinegar in a local farm shop today, that was one reason I had to make @gavalianos_kafenes @monica.vandenbosch gorgeous bean salad.

just fresh tomatoes – φρέσκες ντομάτες

local fresh tomatoes, they look great and taste awesome

horta – χόρτα

Dark Leafy Greens are an important part of the Mediterranean Diet. Research that began on the Greek Island of Crete in the 1940’s and later included the rest of the Mediterranean, determined that the Mediterranean Diet contributes to living a longer life.  Dark leafy Greens picked in the fields and eaten daily in Greece and cooked with olive oil and lemon. 

source modern day goddess

pilafi lamb – gamopilafo – Κρητικό πιλάφι με αρνί ή γαμοπίλαφο
(wedding rice) 

The perfect Greek rice pilaf recipe.  There are two kinds of rice dishes in Greece: rice (ryzi) and pilaf (pilafi).  Rice is… well, rice, and pilaf is creamy and cooked in broth from freshly boiled chicken or beef.  Pilaf is a traditional wedding dish on Crete, where it’s made in enormous quantities to feed the often thousands of invited guests.

source the Spruce Eats

Greek salad – Cretan village salad – χωριάτικη σαλάτα 

Barley rusks make this a meal in itself by thickening up the salad.  Local olive oil and seasonal vegies at their peak are a must, purslane or caper leaves are traditional additions, but if you can’t find these you can substitute small basil leaves.

source the Gourmet Traveller

patates fried  – τηγανιτές πατάτες

Patates Tiganites, fried potatoes is one of the most adored and most consumed foods today in Greece, but not in the form of a “french fry” a fast food type potato.  We are talking about hand-cut potatoes fried in olive oil. The flavor and texture is amazing.  I know almost no Greek who will go to a tavern and not order patates tiganites for all to share as an appetizer.

source Olive Tomato

beetroot – πατζαροσαλάτα 

as a salad, as a dip

source for a dip Real Greek Recipes

Or as homemade beetroot crisps.  It takes several goes to catch the exact moment between then being too soft and juicy and burning to cinder, when they get their rich gorgeous colour and a slightly jammy smoky taste. When you master that… quite addictive

source from my Cretan House

pizza – πίτσα

A breakfast pizza from the Olive Farm or take away hand-spinned by Minos and his friends , lovingly prepared with a to die for thin crust.

cheese pie – τυρόπιτα

cheese pie – kalitsounia- kαλλιτσούνια

cheese pie – sarikopitakia – Σαροκοπιτάκια

lots to write with lots of pictures here

local vegetables and herbs

this section will be expanded

orange pie – πορτοκαλί πίτα

Fluffy and colourful with the moist of scented syrup! A mouthwatering Greek Orange cake (Portokalopita) with the aromas and blends of fresh oranges and cinnamon. Go over the top and serve with a full spoon of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup! 
the photograph is from Monica’s taverna, this one is spectacular

Bougatsa with cheese – Μπουγάτσα με τυρί 

Bougatsa is a pie made of smooth and crunchy filo pastry and can have various filings.  Cretan bougatsa is filled with ksinomizithra cheese, (traditional Cretan sour cheese resembling ricotta).  Cretan bougatsa is topped with white granulated sugar and cinnamon.  The sourness of the cheese is fantastically counterbalanced by the sweetness of the white sugar and the pungence of cinnamon.  Cretan bougatsa should not be missed when in Heraklion or Chania, the only two cities where Cretan bougatsa is available.  We could not think of a better breakfast snack or accompaniment to coffee or tea!  source Cretan Healthy Life
and the photographs are from Chania…  couldn’t resist, had to make an exception

Donuts – Loukoumades – Λουκουμάδες 

Loukoumades are little bite-sized fluffy sweet honey balls (the Greek version of donuts), which are deep fried to golden and crispy perfection. Greek donuts (loukoumades) are traditionally served soaked in hot honey syrup, sprinkled with cinnamon and garnished with chopped walnuts or toasted sesame seeds. Simply irresistable! For the chocolate lovers (like me!) go over the top and drizzle these delicious Greek donuts (loukoumades) with some rich chocolate sauce! 

source  My Greek Dish

Cretan yogurt with honey – γιαούρτι με μέλι 

Few people outside Crete know about the qualities of Cretan yoghurt, made of local sheep milk.  It is fermented and sold in terracotta bowls, has a firm texture, a characteristic skin and it is slightly sour. It can easily be described as having a glorious taste. You do not need accompaniments; it could easily be devoured plain for the total culinary experience. Of course you can top it with gorgeous Cretan honey or fruit but it is not necessary as with most other yoghurts.

source Cretan Healthy Life

Greek coffee- Ελληνικός καφές 

A cup of Greek coffee is a must for Greeks some time in their lives. The Greek man who respects himself enjoys the fine aromatic beverage preferably with three cigarettes in the morning. For women a cup of Greek coffee offers the opportunity to chit chatting with other female relatives and friends. Of course, these images are clishe of the past as the average young Greek man or woman has rather abandoned the Greek coffee and turned to iced Frappe and instant coffee, and in the last decade increasingly to Italian style Cappuccino and Freddo.

source Keep Talking Greece 

and the following to be added

tzatziki – τζατζίκι 

moussaka – μουσακάς

the one served by Arismari is simply the best!

giouvetsi – γιουβέτσι

beef stifado – μοσχαρίσιο στιφάδο

lamb stamnankáthi – αρνί σταμνάνκαθι

fried snails – chochlioi boubouristi – τηγανητά σαλιγκάρια

fish dishes – πιάτα με ψάρι

stuffed tomatoes – γεμιστά 

stuffed vine leaves – dolmadakia – αμπελόφυλλα 

boureki – μπουρέκι

staka – στάκα

Cretan dried rusk bread – paximadi – παξιμάδι

Cretan cheeses – Κρητικά τυριά

Myzithra cheese – Μυζήθρα

Sfakia pies – Sfakianopita – Σfakia πίτες

Xerotigana – Ξεροτιγκάνα

and much more…