The world famous and unique Greek, Cretan products

cheeses – olives – herbs & spices – traditional Cretan wine

Feta cheese

The Feta (Φέτα) cheese is an essential ingredient in Greek cuisine. In many countries around the world, feta is known as part of Greek salad – but in Western Crete and Greece, a wide variety of dishes are made with feta.

According to some legends, feta cheese dates back to the time of the Olympian gods.

According to a story, Aristotle, the son of Apollo and Cyrene, was the first, who make cheese.

We can already read about cheese – in the writings of Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Homer.

In the Odyssey: we can read about cheese made from sheep’s milk.

The Venetian recipe book “Libro per Cuoco” from the 14th-century: also contains two recipes, which ingredients include formazo di Candia, or also known as Cretan cheese.

The word feta is likely to have originated in the 17th century.

It was born from the Italian word fette, which means sliced: because the cheese was stored cut into larger slices – in the barrels.

 The original feta cheese: hard cheese made

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Feta cheese:

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The Cretans people often consume this cheese as a kind of appetizer: fresh bread, a little oregano on feta cheese, sprinkled with virgin olive oil, garnished with olives

Feta can be combined with many Mediterranean ingredients.

For example: it can occur on pizzas, even the simplest grilled steak with potatoes can be turned into a unique dish, with Feta cheese.

Both white and red wines go well, with feta dishes.

Feta cheese is most often seasoned with oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary.

It can be seasoned not only with black pepper, but also very tasty with green pepper.

If You feel the feta is too salty: it is advisable to soak it in water or milk a few hours before use. After soaking, the cheese deteriorates very quickly: soak only as much cheese as You want to use.

Feta can be stored in the refrigerator for a very long time: up to 3 months – it depends on the variety and quality.

Allow the feta to warm to room temperature for at least half an hour before consuming: so it will be the most delicious. Don’t freeze the Feta cheese! – because then the taste of the cheese changes.


The Graviera cheese is the second most popular cheese in Greece. It is a hard cheese, light yellow in color and slightly sweet and nutty in taste.

It is produced in several regions of Greece: every each area has its own characteristics.

The Cretan version is made from sheep’s milk, with a small amount of goat’s milk. Its salt content should not exceed 2 percent.

The versatile cheese: the Graviera cheese can be sliced, grated, used in fried foods or served in salads.

The Graviera cheese is matured in barrels for at least five months: with herbs, spices – in olive oil.

Graviera cheese was granted a protected designation of origin in 1996 – the OEM Certification (Original Equipment Manufacturer).

Only Graviera cheese made in Greece can wear this name: cheese made outside Greece is not entitled to use the name.

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The Mizithra or myzithra (Greek: μυζήθρα [miziθra]) is a Greek whey cheese, or mixed milk – whey cheese.

The method of preparation can be:

– only sheep’s milk version

– only goat’s milk version

– At some places: it is made partly using sheep’s milk and partly using goat’s milk.

When making cheese is very important: the ratio of milk and whey! According to the original recipe, this ratio is: 7:3.

Homeland of Mizithra cheese: Crete. Similar cheese in Italy: Ricotta, similar cheese in Cyprus: Anari, similar cheese in Turkey: Lor.

Making Mizithra is very simple:

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The longer stored and salted variant: Xynomizithra, or aged Mizithra. As a result of storage, the cheese will become drier, denser, salty and more sour. In some places this variant is called ‘sour mizithra’. We can already grate this cheese: we can serve it, as grated cheese.

The fresh cheese is soft, snow white, creamy and moist. Because fresh mizithra does not contain salt, it has a little sweet and milky taste.

Very delicious with honey, or olives, tomatoes. It can be seasoned, with oregano, basil and other herbs.

It can be used: as table cheese, in salads, in pastries, in small cheesecakes and in the famous Cretan Sfakiani pita.

The salted, matured variant of the cheese: in grated form – the cheese makes the pasta dishes unique.

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Saganaki, or otherwise known as Kefalotiri (or kefalotyri) is a traditional Greek, Cretan hard cheese made from unpasteurized goat or sheep’s milk.

In some places in West Crete: both goat’s milk and sheep’s milk are used to make the cheese.

The Gruyere is similar to cheese, but kefalotiri is more salty and harder!

Use of cheese:

– make cakes, with cheese

– very tasty in fried or grilled form

– can be eaten on top of hot pasta and stews – in grated form

– the cheese can be perfectly paired with seasonal fruits


The delicious Cretan red wine always goes well to dishes, which made with Saganaki, Kefalotiri cheese.

The simplest dish with Saganaki, Kefalotiri cheese:

– melt the cheese in a small pan! – until it bubbles

– add fresh lemon juice

– season the cheese, with pepper to taste

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The best dishes made with Saganaki, Kefalotiri cheese:

– the shrimp saganaki

– the mussels saganaki

These dishes with spicy tomato sauce are very gourmet and delicious.

Serving Size: 1 piece (143g)


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Vitamins and minerals:

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STAKA cheese

The Staka in Cretan gastronomy is cheese, but in fact a dairy product: transition between cheese and yogurt.

The preparation of the cheese is unique:

– After milking: the cheese maker removes, takes off the cream from the surface of the goat’s and sheep’s milk

– If there is enough cream – if enough cream has been collected, they are then heated over a very low flame, with constant stirring.

– When it starts to flow: salt, flour and a little water are added.

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Use of Staka cheese in Crete:

– when making scrambled eggs: Staka cheese is added to the eggs

– Staka cheese is very tasty on hot baked potatoes

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Staka can be stored in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.  It melts very quickly outside the refrigerator.

The stakobutter – in enclosed in a glass jar, can be stored for up to a year.


The most dominant olive in Crete: the Koroneiki. It is the most widespread olive – in the world: due to its high density, its oil content is very high.

The best quality olives are produced on the slopes of Crete away from the sea. Fruits grown in olive groves by the sea have a high-water content. Water must first be removed from these fruits, to obtain a high-quality oil. This is not a simple – it is complicated procedure.

Therefore, the olive groves are located in the interior of Crete, further away from the sea.

– the tree must be pruned, because if it is not pruned, it will grow into a bush

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– the olive tree lives for hundreds of years, up to 1000 years – Crete has such hundreds of years old olive groves. No new plantings are made, because a new plantation is approx. it would pay for itself in 40 years.

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Koroneiki olive oil extra virgin – amount Per 100 g

Calories: 120 Kcal

Total Fat: 14g – 22%       

Saturated Fat: 2g – 10%


The second most widespread olive in Crete is Taounate. As the name suggests, this olive comes from Morocco – from Taounate Province.

Taounate olives are dark brown in color, grown mainly in the highlands and mountains. It tastes quite different, than Koroneiki.

In Crete, the harvest of ripe olives begins in November. Because millions of olive trees in Crete, the olive harvest will continue until the end of January.

The Cretans people pressed the oil from the ripe olives using millstones, for long centuries.

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Herbs and spices – Nature is the largest Pharmacy in the world

Greek sage (Salvia fruticosa) – herb – native to the eastern Mediterranean area.

Cretan dittany (Origanum dictamnus) – It is a healing, therapeutic and aromatic plant that grows wild only on the mountainsides and gorges of the Greek island of Crete. The dittany of Crete is widely used for food flavouring and medicinal purposes, in addition to it featuring as an ornamental plant in gardens.

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) – It is widespread in the wild across much of Eurasia and North America, used for medical purposes. Also known as an spice.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum), also called great basil – Basil is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia. It is spice, used in cuisines worldwide.


Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb, used in cookery. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

Rosemary – The rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but also lives in cool climates. Resistant to drought, survives severe water shortages for a long time.

Malotira – (Sideritis) also known as ironwort – mountain tea and shepherd’s tea, well known herbal medicine. They are abundant in Mediterranean regions, the Balkans, the Iberian Peninsula, but can also be found in Central Europe and temperate Asia.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana) – It is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub. The marjoram have sweet pine and citrus flavors. In some Middle Eastern countries, marjoram is synonymous with oregano.

Tsikoudia – Raki


Tsikoudia, called raki in Western Crete, is a grape-based brandy of Cretan origin. It has an alcoholic strength of 40 to 65% vol.
Tsikoudia is made by distilling the remnants of grapes pressed during winemaking by distillation. The grape residues in tightly closed barrels, need to ferment for six weeks. They are then distilled.



Rakomelo is a Greek mixed alcoholic beverage: liqueur brandy.
It is Tsikoudia, Raki made with lemon zest, rosemary and honey.
According to Cretan tradition, Raki and Rakomelo promote digestion. Therefore consumed after a meal. In Crete, it is also used as a home remedy for sore throats or coughs.

The origin of Cretan winery

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The Greeks are not clear, from whom they learned the art of winery, but according to one of the most common theories, they were learned from Eastern people (Phoenicians or Egyptians).
The Greeks, including the Cretans, established good trade relations with the Egyptians during the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC). It is likely during this period, that vinery, winemaking began in Crete.


1. Anti-inflammatory

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2. Helps protect the health of hair and skin

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3. Protects against diabetes

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4. Helps to avoid insulin sensitivity

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5. It helps to avoid heart problems – high blood pressure

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6. Helps keep the right balance in blood cholesterol levels

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7. Helps to lose weight – helps with proper metabolism

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8. Helps with proper digestion – reduces the formation of gallstones

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9. Helps prevent osteoporosis

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10. Slows down aging

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– Organic Facts. 11 Surprising Olive Oil Benefits.

– Clinical Trials. Olive Oil for Breast Cancer Prevention in Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer (Olive Oil). 18 February 2016. Verified September 2016 by Tejal Patel, MD, The Methodist Hospital System.

– California Olive Ranch. 6 February 2017. A healthy pantry: What makes extra virgin olive oil so good for us.

– Olive Oil Times. Special Report: Olive Oil Health Benefits.

– Dr Axe. Olive Oil Benefits for Your Heart & Brain.

– Gallbladder Cleanses With Olive Oil and Lemon. 18 A