Another treasure of local cuisine is the Cretan rusk, which has even been recognised by the EU as a product in its own right. It is unique and of high quality.
This rusk is rich in natural raw materials and nutrients. In many restaurants, the rusk - paximadi - is served as a side dish. Sometimes it is already topped with the finest olive oil or fresh tomato. Fresh cheese can also be used as an ingredient. Herbs add value to this simple dish. The result is a healthy snack, the 'Dakos', which meets all the high demands of the Crete diet.
Cretan bread did not have a good reputation until the 19th century. For many it was very unusual because it was wholemeal bread.
An English traveller changed the bad image by extolling the virtues of bread in his 19th century writings. He himself tried it in the monasteries of Crete and found that the mix of wheat, rye and barley was tasty as well as digestible.
Decades later, and thus in the 20th century, extensive studies took place that proved: Cretan bread is rich in valuable dietary fibres that have a positive effect on intestinal function. In particular, the large intestine is activated. Some nutritionists suspect that this wholemeal bread may offer some protection against bowel cancer.
Traditionally, Cretans ate a bread without bran only on the major feast days of the year such as Easter, the Assumption, weddings and Christmas. This has changed in the meantime. However, Cretan wholemeal bread remains an important part of the Cretan diet.
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