The Cretan diet basically constitutes the cornerstone of the world known Mediterranean nutrition. Behind each delicious flavor and aroma, behind each unique yet harmonious combination of ingredients and products, lies a historical and cultural testimony of a process that took place for thousands of years, from generation to generation and carries within the essence of life in Crete. The Cretan society, up to this day, is a somewhat traditional society with tightly-knit family ties, centuries old customs that are still celebrated and Christian Greek orthodox traditions that hold a significant place, with food being in the center of it all.
Historically in Crete, food production besides nourishment was also a means of leverage for Cretans’ safety and survival during the eras of oppressive occupations. During hardships and conquests, when the conquerors were snatching the crops and incomes of the enslaved Cretans, people had to be inventive with the little they had left and what wild nature would offer generously. So, from the crops, groves, fields and stockyards to the family table, every generation was involved during the entire process of production, throughout the recurring seasons. It goes without saying that every different civilization that passed through the island and Chania, left its mark in the culinary sector as as in every other aspect of society. Imported produce and spices were infused in the local recipes and new flavors and scents were added. However one ingredient that is considered the core of every Cretan plate and Cretan diet in general and is used abundantly since the Minoan civilization, is olive oil.