Who would have thought it! In relation to the number of inhabitants, Crete is one of the regions in the world with the highest cheese consumption. The reason is simple: delicious, health-promoting cheese has been produced on the island for centuries. Among the particularly well-known varieties are:
- Graviera hard cheese (made from sheep's milk and possibly goat's milk)
- Kefalograviera hard cheese (made from sheep's milk and possibly goat's milk)
- Myzithra soft cheese (made from sheep's and goat's whey with the addition of milk)
- Kefalotyri hard cheese (made from sheep's milk and/or goat's milk)
- Anthotyros fresh cheese (made from sheep's milk and/or goat's milk)
On the one hand, Cretan cheese tastes very good and on the other hand, it supports the Cretan diet with its nutrients. It is a source of calcium and proteins. Recent research suggests that the breakdown products of milk proteins may have a preventive effect against cancerous tumours in the breast and prostate. At the same time, Cretan cheeses contain many vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid. The high vitamin content is complemented by minerals and amino acids. The nutritional richness of Cretan cheeses is scientifically proven.
Whether the ancient Greeks knew about it centuries ago is not historically proven. However, writings indicate that people were aware early on that cheese can be very beneficial to health. For example, Zeus, the father of the gods, was said to have grown up on dairy products from the island. A goat fed him with its milk.
Even today, goats - like sheep - are an integral part of the island's landscape. If you travel to Crete and go into the hinterland, you will discover the animals grazing peacefully in many places. They feed on herbs, shrubs and grasses. They are outdoors all year round and are not fed with artificial products. In this way, the animals give a particularly high-quality milk, which is the basis for an excellent cheese.
This form of traditional livestock farming is deeply rooted in Crete. Nothing has changed over the centuries. Only the dairies have changed their decision-making a little to produce delicate cheese under even better hygienic conditions.
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