Wednesday, 16 January 2008
More for Cretan diet
Have you ever tasted "dako", kalitsounia, lamb stamnagathi, fennel pie, staka with eggs, "alatsolies"?
If you have, then you know what we are talking about... If not... then you have one more good reason to visit Crete, Hania and the villages of the municipality of Platanias!
Cretan diet is one more of the things that make Crete stand out.
This diet, which is actually the base of what is known as the famous Mediterranean diet, has been declared officially from the world's medical society as the healthiest and most complete of diets.
Nowhere else has such wholesome food been adapted in everyday nutrition as it is here. Handpicked mountain greens, low-fat white cheese, double baked rusks, fresh vegetables and fruits in large quantities, are all bits and pieces of the jig-saw puzzle that makes the everyday Cretan diet unique.
The olives and olive oil of Crete hold a dominant -almost symbolic -position in agriculture and local cuisine. The Cretan olive oil -especially the one that is manufactured in the region of Hania -is possibly the best in the world and has been the base of the Cretan diet for thousands of years. Its fine golden-green color and refined taste that still manages to maintain the aroma of the fresh olive, is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant substances. For this product, it is difficult to discern between an incredible nutriment and a fine medicine.
Additionally, the extremely mild and favorable climate gives Crete the almost unique privilege to develop and deploy a vast variety of agricultural and livestock production. An apparent disadvantage, the limited size of the island, is actually turned into an advantage by eliminating all other disadvantages that are present in full scale mass productions. All products here are more cared for and better prepared, something almost impossible in any mass production. It is not by chance that all agricultural products which are originally labeled as "product of Crete" are most valued, higher priced and most frequently asked for.
The abundant, first quality "low-fat" olive oil, products from small family farms, vegetables and fruits, combined with low consumption of meat, all contribute to... the secrets of the Cretan diet!
The land and its people took care or all the rest. In Crete, dinner is much more than just a process of sustenance. It is about relish, and mostly it is an expression of sociability and a way of living that has been imprinted on the culture of the island. The friendly gathering around a table full of food, delicacies and wine, is maybe the one thing that most characterizes the everyday life of Cretans.
It is understandable then why the Cretan cuisine is so well taken care of and so cherished. With an endless variety of dishes, appetizers and sweets, all based almost completely on local products, in close contact with ages of tradition, the Cretan cuisine has nothing but friends. An inextricable aspect of the traditional Cretan diet, with a regular seat on the dinner table and a vital role in social commune, is its wine. You will be able to find plentiful local red wine mainly from the variety of Romehiko, as well as many more choices of local wine based on international varieties.
Of course, modern industrial civilization has not left unaffected the nutrition habits of the Cretans. Many typical samples of the so-called modern way of living -for example the increase in meat consumption -have infiltrated in modern life. Even so, the core and basic substance are still pure and he who seeks it, will easily find it. In the area of the municipality of Platanias, housewives stand their ground, and tradition still means tradition!
This any visitor will discover in every aspect, in most dinning halls, in taverns, in cafeterias, even in the grand tourist units. If you are lucky or... search a little deeper, then you might enjoy a Cretan meal from the inside of a Cretan house, in the company of good friends. There where the meaning of Cretan hospitality literally comes to life...