Gastronomy and culinary holidays in Chania, Crete – Things you need to know
What’s the big thing regarding gastronomy and culinary holidays in Chania, Crete? It’s simply the fact that visitors come in droves year after year to Chania and Crete in order to taste the famous Cretan products and the renowned Cretan cuisine.
Regarding its fresh products, agricultural, livestock and dairy, Crete is a blessed land. Every in-the-know holiday-maker to the island discovers easily that Crete is a gastronomic paradise, full of culinary surprises. In this article we are going to trace together the roots of this great gastronomic tradition, and showcase some of the best ways you can use to get to know the marvellous culinary treasures of Crete.
Gastronomy holidays in Chania and Crete – Why the island has such a long culinary tradition
The island of Crete, although small in size, has an outstanding place in the history of Europe and the world. It was the historic birthplace of the first organized civilization in Europe. The now famous Minoan Civilization that flourished in the island for more than 22 centuries, has left behind some of the greatest archaeological sites in the world, which you can explore during your holidays.
But the Minoans were not only very interested in architecture, but also in gastronomy. They were the ones to systematically produce and export products such as olive oil and wine, and the first to elevate Chania and Crete to a totally new culinary level.
It is no surprise that many centuries (in fact, millenia) after the heyday of the Minoan civilization, the traditional gastronomy of Chania and Crete is still based on the same timeless superb foods that are produced on the island, which include olives and olive oil, fine quality cereals, fish, greens and herbs. In fact, the culinary base of the now famous Mediterranean diet is the Cretan diet, which in turn has its roots to the diet of the ancient Minoans.
In its more recent history, the strategic position of Crete, as a bridge between three continents (Europe, Asia, and Africa) has brought many interesting influences from other civilizations, especially the Venetian and the Ottomans who ruled the island for centuries. This had a great influence in the local gastronomy of Chania and Crete, and has led to a superb culinary mix that is unique the world over. Today, practically all visitors who come to the island for their holidays want to taste the renowned Cretan cuisine.
But enough with the gastronomic and culinary history and tradition of Chania and Crete. Let’s see how you can get this great tradition to work on your favour during you holidays.
Gastronomy and culinary holidays in Chania and Crete – Get to know the local products and the Cretan cuisine better
Probably the best way to taste the best of the gastronomy of Chania and Crete, is to take part in a culinary excursion or tour while on your holidays. Crete was one of the first destinations in the Mediterranean to encourage gastronomy holidays, so nowadays it offers plenty of culinary experiences you can (literally) taste.
First of all there are the basic, go-back-in-time type experiences like harvesting the olives, or milking the goat, and tasting some of the superb fresh agricultural, livestock and dairy products of the island.
Then, there are the more specialized gastronomy holiday excursions or tours in Chania and Crete, which include, among other superb culinary experiences, Cretan traditional cooking lessons, local vegetarian artisan cooking lessons, getting to know the culinary bases of the Cretan (and the Mediterranean) diet, learn firsthand the traditional way of preparing the known local wine, etc.
Chania and Crete are great destinations for gastronomy holidays. The whole island is full of small culinary hidden gems, which, in most cases, you can find by simply asking the locals.
There are relatively many places that offer a nice setting for your holidays. But what sets Chania and Crete apart is the vast variety of fine experiences they offer to the holiday-maker, which in Crete’s case includes one of the greatest gastronomic and culinary traditions in the world.