What would the Crete diet be without refinement? To make it possible, some dishes contain very special ingredients. They are not the main ingredient, but enrich the dish with their flavour and nutrients.
At the top of the list are the sultanas. Since Crete is famous for growing grapes, it is a good idea to dry the small fruits. Sultanas are rich in vitamins and have an intense flavour. They go excellently with baked goods and pies. They are also popular for filled sweets.
Less well known, but no less appreciated, is carob. It has made a name for itself among the nutrition-conscious as a superfood, because it is a healthy and natural sweetener. In Crete, it was once given mainly to animals as feed. Now it is used as an ingredient in innovative confectionery and bakery products. Carob can give energy and is suitable for the production of flour.
A rich classic of Cretan cuisine are the nuts. They contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can have a positive effect on the cell function of the body. This has earned them the reputation of being able to protect against heart disease.
There are hardly any designated cultivation areas for nuts on the island. Mostly the trees grow wild or in large gardens. Harvest workers pick them directly from the trees. The best-known type of nut on the island is the almond, which enhances meals, especially in autumn and winter. They are free of chemical residues.
Crete is home to another extraordinary plant that is internationally renowned: aloe vera. Alexander the Great already knew about its valuable healing properties, which is why it was called the 'plant of immortality'. For several centuries, it has been used in natural cosmetics. Even the pharmaceutical industry has discovered it. What is less known is that aloe vera can even be drunk.
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