Crete is an island like a turtle. It doesn't let time get to it. It sets its own pace of life.
We went to the island this summer for a wedding and had an overwhelming experience in just 72 hours. I had always been keen to go, my grandmother's family is originally from there and for some reason at some point your life you begin to want to understand what it was all about.
Us heading to Crete.
I was overwhelmed by the hospitality, the familiarity of the smells and relations.
One product that is a part of our kitchen ever since my dear friends Christina & Thaleia introduced to me in my university years is "Dakos". It is dried barley rusk bread.In Greece it is used to make bruscetta like mezes etc.
At home, I love to make it a part of the salad as it soaks up the tomato and salad dressing of olive oil,salt, lemon juice and pomengranate syrup and makes an amazing composition.
Here is my recommendation:
Salad ingredients: All to be mixed up.
2-3 tomatoes (peeled and diced)
2-3 cucumbers (peeled and diced)
1 red onion (peeled and diced)
2 slices of white cheese of your preference
a sprinkle of fresh oregano,parsley, salt
For the dressing: Place all of these in an empty bottle and mix up.
Juice of 2 lemons
3 table spoons of olive oil
1 table spoon of pomengranate juice
Ta taaa....(well it looks something like this :) )
You will need a car or scooter, something with wheels to get across the island which is suprisingly more about the mountains than the sea- or at least that was my impression. We visited Crete with a 1,5 year old restless boy so my recommendations will also be more child friendly.
- Elafonisi... a very nice beach.
- Vai beach, near the ancient town of Hamos .
- The deserted island of Spinalonga. Which is located very close to the town of Agios Nikolaos is a name you may remember from Victoria Hislop's novel "The Island". It is the island where the leper treatment was done. These days however it is a nice location to swin, just across from Spinalonga there are nice many swimming spots on Elounda.
- Streets of Chania
- Iraklio to drink Greek coffee for hours and watch people go by like a true Aegean person.
Streets of Chania
Morosini Fountain at Iraklion.
- Church of Agios Nikolaos. Very nice frescoes.
- First up "bougatsa" at Kipkop. Very nice. This fluffy pastry is filled with cream like goat cheese and reaches perfection with subtle sprinkle of cinnamon!
- Thalassino Ayeri at Chania (Vivlaki 35, Halepa) is a local seafood taverna spot highly recommended by the NY Times post on Crete.
- As is I strenatou Bloumosifis at Vamos.
- For ice cream Yiannarakis at Iraklion is recommended.
- Spinalonga, where Kyra-Maria the cook will tell you tales of the island
- At Chania, Pigadi tou Tourkou- aubergine balls are a classic dish, across the street Vineria is supposed to have the best pannacotta in town.For afternoon coffee (of course!) Palace Hotel is recommended.
- Pefki village. In all frankness it took us a while to get there-top of the mountain. For us it wasnt that exciting because it was very similiar to most of the Turkish villages. However, it may prove to be interesting for visitors that are not from this part of the world. When we arrived at the village we learned from the signs that there was one taverna in town.Found a parking spot, which was kind of awkward as well and asked the people in the car next to us how the taverna was, would the recommend it? The answer is "very drunk".Since we were starving we entered anyway which turned out to be very calm and easy going place with good simple food. I've shared pics below.
- Vineyards of Sitia. I did not go personally but it was in my list of places to see if time had permitted.