Greek breakfast from Crete
What can one say about Crete, where life expectancy rates are the highest in the whole country? The uniqueness of its products, their daily consumption, and their high nutritional value, are the reasons why the Cretan diet is ideal – not to say indispensable - for healthy living. Vast olive groves, vineyards, sweet-smelling honey, wild weeds, and herbs are the ingredients that guarantee a delicious breakfast!
The mythical magic of Crete is felt in every step on Greece’s largest island. Blessed with majestic mountains, fertile valleys, gorges, secret caves, and enchanting sunsets, the Cretan heritage shines, at every turn, particularly at the table. Situated in the southern Aegean Sea, the Region of Crete includes the main island and surrounding islands, including a pirate hideaway, a natural Lebanon cedar forest and the island of Gavdos, Europe’s southernmost point.
Cretan gastronomy, internationally recognized as the Cretan Diet, has its roots in the dietary habits of the ancient Minoans including olive oil, wheat, wine, honey, herbs, sheep and goats.
‘You are what you eat,’ the belief that eating well leads to fitness and health, is seen in the long life of Cretans.
The paximadi, or Cretan Rusk, the island’s traditional, double-baked, barley rusk and one of the secrets to Cretan longevity, represents the island’s incredibly simple yet incredibly nutritious gastronomic heritage.
The Cretan Rusk, known for its high nutritional value, has conquered today’s gourmet cuisine yet its original use and long ‘shelf life’ may come as a surprise. Packed in a ‘shepherd’s bag,’ the hard, barley biscuit provided nourishment and stamina, with every crunchy bite, for long periods in the mountains.
The rich Cretan earth and favorable climate together with the island’s long livestock tradition have created a land of plenty. Crete produces olive oil, which is considered one of the healthiest in the world, as well as delicious green and black olives.
The Cretan culinary tradition is a wonderful combination of the freshest ingredients, authentic Cretan products and creativity in the kitchen.
The Greek Breakfast of Crete is a celebration of local specialties that are so special they are named after a locale. There is the famous bougatsa of Irakleo, filo dough with either cheese or sweet custard filling topped with sugar and cinnamon and the equally famous bougatsa of Chania with a filling of slightly sour Chaniot myzithra. The pie of Sfakia, a crepe filled with myzithra, Anevala of Sitia, stuffed breads with the soft Cretan cheese and the famous Cretan Graviera (PDO) , smoked pork and sausage in vinegar are just a taste of the Cretan gastronomic heritage.
- Paximadi (rusks)
- Graviera with honey
- Sygklino (salted and smoked pork)
- Apaki (smoked pork)
- Fried eggs with staka (butter-cream)
- Cream cheese pies (myzithra)
- Fried green pie
- Xerotigana: fried thin plies of dough
- Lyhnarakia: filled with myzithra and cream cheese (anthotyro), etc
- Boureki from Chania
- Bougatsa (creampie)
- Herbal teas
Thrace borders Turkey and Bulgaria. Sprinkled with mountain villages and seaside towns, the coastline is washed by the Aegean Sea. The islands of Thasos and Samothrace are part of the wider region. A traditional crossroads bridging Europe and Asia, the cities and towns represent historical hubs where the mingling of peoples have created the multi-cultural flavor of the region’s gastronomic heritage.
Traditionally, a hearty breakfast welcomes the day in the countryside consisting of a healthy soup, trahana, made from cracked wheat and vegetable pulp, – and a glass of tsipouro (a spirit from Thracian grapes). Thrace is renowned for its rich culinary heritage. Savory cheese and wild herb pies, sweet Varvara (wheat berry pudding) and ekmek kadaifi, three-layer pastry soaked in syrup with custard filling are just some of the local delights.
The Greek Breakfast of Thrace is as diverse as each locale. Sumptuous pita pies, such as savory milk pie, yogurt cheese pie, pumpkin pie, sesame and nettle pies are sensational. An assortment of local cheeses including Kasseri (PDO), Myzithra, Graviera, and cured meats featuring beef sausage, pastrami, baked, smoked, boiled turkey and ham are traditional breakfast foods. A selection of fruit spoon sweets, such as cranberry spoon sweet provides an extra energy boost. For coffee lovers, the taste of freshly-roasted, traditional Greek coffee is a must. Unforgettable.
- Milk pie
- Yogurt cheese pie
- Pumpkin pie
- Kasseri (PDO)
- Cured meats
- Beef sausage
- Smoked and boiled turkey and ham
The region stretches across Northern Greece with a long coastline, mountainsides and fertile plains. The natural beauty of the land from the Halkidiki Peninsula with its spectacular beaches to the ‘Holy Mountain,’ Mount Athos, center of Eastern Orthodox monasticism is breathtaking. The fertile countryside offers the richest farmlands in Greece, with crops including wheat, olives, grapes and Florina peppers.
Macedonia is internationally- acclaimed for its quality cuisine and excellent products, such as Kozani Saffron, considered among the best in the world. Naoussa is known for its fresh garden vegetables, local fruit and every type of meat. Thessaloniki is a food lover’s dream famed for specialties with an Eastern character, such as the bougatsa, delicious breakfast pastry, as well as recipes from Constantinople and the Ottoman tradition.
The greek breakfast of Macedonia is as legendary as the land. Start your day with traditional Macedonian ham or salami, fruit in season, local cheeses, such as Anevato (PDO), a soft cheese from Grevena and Kozani; Manouri (PDO), semi-soft white whey cheese or Batzos (PDO), traditional semi hard cheese. There are pita pies of every type; Kolobaropita/Halkidiki zucchini pie, with no pastry or crust; kalithiotiki/Katerini filo pastry with chicken, rice, eggs and leeks; sweet rice pie/Serres and — for staying power — Macedonia papftia, bread dough, mincemeat and onion filling fried in oil. Wherever you are, whatever breakfast you choose, you will sit down to a table of extraordinary taste.
- Cheese Pie
- Chicken Pie
- Macedonian Ham & Salami
- Seasonal fruits
- Anetavo (PDO) Cheese
- Graviera from Kozani
- Manouri (PDO)
- Batzos Cheese (PDO)