Crete Island is well famous for its small cheese or herb pies, called kalitsounia. They resemble a common cheese or stuffed pie with the principal difference of its filling and serving variations. So, in Chania we find the salty kalitsounia, stuffed with the local, mild cheese, mizithra or various herbs from the creatn land (without cheese) and the sweet kalistounia, also stuffed with mizithra but poured with honey on top. This is unique delicacy served in the entire island and throughout Chania prefecture, from popular restaurants in Chania town to small mountainous villages. There is also anther version of kalitsounia made with dough and not fillo pastry (very thin sheet of dough), stuffed also with mizithra and cinnamon. Kalitsounia can be either baked or fried depending on whether they are made with dough or thin fillo pastry.

A popular dish served traditionally in weddings assumed to bring luck and fertility to the newlywed couple, thus it has been named after this as in greek gamopilafo means the risotto of the wedding. The rice is boiled together with cock and goat and instead of oil or normal butter, “stakovoutiro” is added. Stakovoutiro is a thick butter created by the fat of sheep, named “staka”. It is indeed cholesterol friendly and calories rich but its taste is so full that locals use it even spread on bread, like the normal butter.

This is a sheer delight! Fat free, tender parts of pork meat marinated in vinegar and then smoked with various herbs. It is delicacy that can be cooked n many ways and perfectly matches with fried or baked potatoes, rice or can be devoured on its own. It can also be preserved for 4-5 months after its production. Try apaki in Sfakia or in small villages outside Chania town…the taste is incomparable!

Another delicacy that creates a unique section in meat-eating! Syglino is made by pork meat cut in stripes and boiled that is hanged in a fireplace or a traditional chimney. Various herbs are burnt just below it using layers of ash in the fire too, which give out all its essence of aromas and smoked flavor to the hanging meat. As soon as the meat is roasted it is kept in in jars in its own fat. When the time to enjoy it comes, it can be fried or baked with its fat, offering an eclectic dish for the lucky ones who will try it. The fat from syglino is usually used by locals to fry eggs or potatoes adding a smoked, rich in aromas flavor to all dishes. Not to be missed!

A meat delicacy leaving a sweet and salty taste, tsigariasto is made by lamb or goat meat cooked with a little oil in a casserole. The meat is cooked slowly in its own juices until it gets tender. Locals use onion which is sautéed with the meat and gives a sweet flavor to this piece of art. Tsigariasto for being baked in low degrees and not being tossed in the casserole has a tender, butter-like texture and taste that hardly reminds you of lamb or goat meat. Just like apaki and syglino, if you are given the chance to taste it in a small village where people completely preserve cooking traditions, it is certain that you will never forget this pleasure.

Hohlioi in Red Sauce
A typical plate of mainly western Crete, hohlioi is snails cooked in a casserole. The most popular plate made with snails is hohlioi mpourmpouristoi but it really lacks the unique, exceptional taste that hohlioi in red sauce offer. Cooked in tomato sauce with various herbs and mainly fennel, hohlioi cooked this way is an exceptional local plate, accompanying almost every main dish.

Ntakos Salad
A very popular and tasteful dish typical of Crete and especially Chania using a traditional Cretan big rusk named ntakos which is usually wet with water. Above ntakos Cretans usually put small pieces of tomato and shredded mizithra cheese and then pour this mixture with virgin olive oil. Variations of this plate are very common, using also onion or aromatic herbs and greens like parsley. A healthy and delicious dish served as a salad or a main meal.

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