Cretan kalitsounia

There is no Cretan celebration, traditional Cretan meal without "kalitsounia". Those delicious pies can be stuffed with Cretan soft cheese "mizithra" with some spearmint, spinach or both. Most of the times they are sprinkled with sesame seeds.

The whole secret of kalitsounia is in their dough. It can be thick or thin and crunchy. It can be baked in the oven or fried in the deep Cretan extra virgin olive oil.

For those with fussy kids, there is no better snack than Cretan kalistounia. I do not know the kid that would reject this healthy snack!

 

Luiza and mint mix

Autumn in Crete it is a time of flying viruses, runny noses, humidity sitting in each corner. 

As a prevention or just for a relaxing sip in the early evenings, you should definitely try some Cretan herbs boiled to treat you with an aromatic tea. 

Here is my mixture for the bad cold: dry luiza (known as lemon verbena) and mint leaves. Cut at the beginning of October, they were sitting and getting dried to be peeled off their twigs right at this time. 

Excellent mild flavor with a light color of orange. 

They will definitely disappear soon! 

 

Local Cretan Beer

If you are in Chania, you absolutely have to try local beer Xarma (read it Harma). Amazing, gentle flavor, fully natural, no preservatives, no technical improvements, no pasteurization. You have 2 options for your choice: blonde or dark. 

Smooth, with a very few tiny bubbles, it is a perfect addition to your Cretan meal. Chania people love it and support it! Your Cretan organic beer, I sip whole year round!

Join their club!

Στην υγεία μας! (Stin igeea mas) or Na zdrowie!

Cretan pomegranates

Sometimes you must break one for luck! 

When you open them, they may explode with a number of juicy seeds! 

You chew those seeds to squeeze with your teeth some juice, but the rest is a tiny dry "core".  

Small, wrinkled ones are those fruits producing usually most of pomegranate juice.  

It is a weird taste. Healthy, but weird. Bitter and sweet. Sour and mild. You may use an orange juicer to squeeze them. A friend of mine used to choose a more tedious way: taking out all the seeds and putting them into the blender and then through the sieve! Too much fuss as she admitted.

You don't have to eat them if you do not like! They look amazing as a decoration of your table.  

It is a pure enjoyment to spot them hanging on the tree.  

Symbol of prosperity and luck! Our Cretan winter fruit! 

 

Cretan treasure

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So far it's been a weird year concerning the weather conditions. Warm March with African dust, hot summer and sudden autumn with a radical change of temperature. It's been no good for the one of Cretan treasures: olives! Their tiny buds did not make it and we will definitely suffer from olive shortage this year. Our trees look strong but bald. You may consider yourself lucky if you manage to find a few olives hanging on the bottom branches. Somehow leaves look fatter and longer. Hope the self-protection of nature is working properly and next year there'll be plenty of extra virgin nectar. For this year, I assume we may expect some higher prices? Dip your bread like it is now or never!

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Souvlaki by night

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Nothing feels so good when after a hot Cretan day (eating nothing, drinking tons of water), a relatively cool evening arrives and your appetite tickles your palate.

Then you want something fast, something Greek, something at the reasonable price. 

If you already feel like a local, you will probably sit to your dinner around midnight (ups!).  

Fresh home made french fries, meat on sticks surrounded by pita bread taste like heaven in Tsita.  

I have tried this place a few times and no regrets so far.

It is a cosy place, located right at the entrance of Daliani Street.  

Kali orexi! Diet starts from tomorrow!

 

Grapes arrive

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They are almost here, fat and juicy. Long and crunchy. Small both sweet and sour. They can be of a light green color. They may have some purple spots.  

Hanging from the racks, columns, at this time of the year, they decorate patios and roofs of Cretan houses.

Nicely shaped leaves are taken by the summer breeze and they adumbrate what's below.  

They are still protected with paper cones agains hungry and thirsty birds and bugs.  

Leaves soon will be used for dolmadakia! (stuffed wine leaves).  

Frappe anytime anyday

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There is no Greece without frappe! It's a deeply rooted element of Greek reality

You grab a plastic cup, sip it from the straw while running to do your errands!  

Even your car has a round hole to place this speeding up metabolism drink! 

While on holidays! Beach, your sun cream and a glass of this cold energizer.  

Yes, some get surprised but it is simply prepared with a cold tap water. One or two spoons of instant coffee (nescafe) and some sugar if you drink it sweet. For more freezeing taste, you ask for ice cubes! And for gala (γάλα) if you mind some milk.

Due to your preferences, here are some ordering tips: 

1. Sketos- it is a coffee with no sugar

2. Metrios - usually a spoon of sugar

3. Glikos - sweet, most places add two spoons of sugar.  

Remember: coffee in Greek language is masculine! (why? Interpretation is yours:)

One of the places I drink or take my coffe from it is a "Magic Filter" coffee bar, right at the corner of Archontaki Andrea Str.  

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Litsas' Taverna in Afrata

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Far away from crazy tourists crowds, on the hill overlooking a small gorge of Afrata, we stop for an evening meal at Litsas.  

Not too many people, though it's the middle of June. Mostly foreigners.  

Tables are scattered on the veranda cool from the sea breeze.  

Heard about this place a few times, but it's mine first visit in here.  

Our table welcomes us with a pot full of fresh okra (probably to get some sun and leave some juices before being cooked!). Must be a sign we will get fresh, local dishes.

Greek salad (horiatiki salata) is crunchy and properly seasoned. Kaltsounia are a perfect appetizer to tempt your appetite. Get the ones with a rich mix of cheese, mountain greens and as I remember righ, some red pepper.

Main dish is rabbit with fat Greek french fries, fresh olive oil, orange juice and some beer!  

I am not a big fun of this kind of meat, but it just tastes wonderful!  

And like a real Cretan tavern, they will treat you with some raki and sweets after your simple but fully tasty dinner! 

If by any chance you come this way, try Litsas' cuisine.