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5 traditional foods to try in Crete

Crete has one of the oldest and most delicious gastronomic traditions in the world. Inspired by the history of Greece, it offers unique and special takes on traditional Greek foods. It’s a combination of fresh ingredients prepared simply, yet extremely flavourful and healthy as a diet for anyone to enjoy. Today we’ve summed up the top 5 traditional dishes you must try during your next visit to one of Greece’s island gems, Crete. 


As an appetizer, this dish is intended to be eaten as a starter. However, it’s very difficult not to just munch down on this fresh and crisp ‘bruschetta’ like dish. Freshly chopped tomatoes, accompanied by herbs, fresh cheese, sit on top of a rusk called ‘paximadi’, finally garnished by pouring a generous amount of local olive oil over its entirety. Mouthwatering to say the least. 

Cretan Salad 

Just as appetizing and delicious as its Greek counterpart, the Cretan salad builds on flavours by replacing the famous Feta cheese, with local soft cheese. While adding a few extra ingredients forms a tapestry of unique flavour combinations. Depending on where you eat the additions may include zucchini, egg or even boiled potatoes. Phenomenal accompaniment to any meal.  


Literally translated it means ‘rice of the wedding’ or ‘wedding rice’ this dish is served at, well you guessed it, weddings. Although it does find itself on the table at multiple traditional events throughout the year in Crete. It consists of meat and poultry boiled for hours accompanied by rice that is cooked with butter and lemon.


These are the sort of snacks you can’t get enough of. Pastry goodness, Sarikopitakia are cheese-filled pies (usually with sheep’s milk cheese), fried with olive oil and lightly drizzled with honey. Fun fact, they get their name from the shape of the scarf that local men wear on the west of the island.

Cretan Cheese 

If there is a lot of anything in Crete, it’s cheese. As previously mentioned, the soft cheese that replaces feta in salads is also enjoyed by itself or with bread. Although it is popular there are plenty more cheese types that are widely enjoyed on the island. Anthotiros, a sheep and goat cheese that’s mild and soft when it’s fresh but it turns hard as it dries out. Most commonly used to sprinkle on pasta dishes. Kefalotiri is primarily of sheep’s milk, however, it is also normal to mix it with goat milk in the process. The cheese is hard, with a bold and salty flavour, strong and somewhat fatty. Mizithra, the typical fresh cheese of Crete made with milk and whey from sheep and/or goats. Graviera is another classic hard cheese that is usually made with sheep’s milk. Rich and full of butter, it can be enjoyed by itself, with biscuits, on bread or as a filling for pies. 

Try some of these and other dishes at Asterion Suites & Spa’s main Restaurant Matter and Cretan a la carte Restaurant 35°. Offering an ideal environment for any occasion, as they feature a special character with a particular layout, modern aesthetics, and hospitable atmosphere.