Local specialities on an island usually include fish and shellfish dishes. Certainly, these are also available in Crete, but the focus of the Cretan diet is on meat rather than seafood.
The reason for this can be found in the varied history of the country: the Cretans have always preferred to move near the mountains. There they could peacefully pursue cattle breeding and the cultivation of vegetables and fruit. On the coasts, a lively trade with seafaring nations developed, but these regions were not safe. Pirates often robbed the natives.
The tasty protein source of the Crete diet is therefore mainly the meat of lambs and goats. At the same time, they give milk that is processed into cheese. The meat of the animals is very tender and authentic in taste, as they feed naturally on the extensive pastures and groves. The same applies to the rabbit and chicken meat, which also enriches the Crete diet.
Although meat is more important than fish in the Cretan diet, the latter can also be found in many traditional dishes. Especially in the regions around Chania, Georgioupolis, Agia Galini, Elounda, Milatos and Lasithi, there are numerous fish restaurants dedicated to the local marine species.
Particularly famous are the octopuses, which you can enjoy braised or grilled under the name chtapódi. Fried sardines - gópes - are popular as appetisers, while fried swordfish is ordered as a main course. The seafood is rich in healthy fats, which is why it fits perfectly into the Cretan diet.
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