They say that laughter is brightest where the food is best. Here’s what to eat in Apokoronas, Chania to make the most out of your holidays in West Crete.
Verdant and especially fertile Apokoronas in West Crete has all the trappings of a getaway that’s impossible to forget: Sea, sun, sand and fun, for starters. Amazing landscapes and mesmerizing sites, natural and manmade alike, moreover: Like Lake Kournas, the island’s only freshwater lake, or Ancient Aptera, one of the largest city-states in Crete, founded in the 7th century BC. Historical villages, 75 in total, each in its own way alluring. But also abundant cultural offerings, a fuss-free, easygoing lifestyle, interesting, lively, lovely locals, and some seriously great food. With edible delights ranking at the top of holiday pleasures, here’s what to eat in Apokoronas, Chania to make sure that your escapade in Crete remains forever imprinted in your heart and soul.
What to eat in Apokoronas, Chania: Top 3 Cretan delicacies
1. Cheese & Dairy products
Crete’s considerable cheese-making tradition hails from the depths of antiquity: According to mythology, the art of creating cheese was a precious gift given to mortals by the gods of Olympus. Often referenced as the “protector of sheep” and “the maker of cheese”, Hermes belongs to the shepherd deities. Similarly, in Hommer’s Odyssey, the mighty Cyclop Polyphemus is credited with being the first one to make cheese from goat’s and sheep’s milk. After all, Zeus himself, the father and king of all gods and mortals, was fed with the milk of Amaltheia: She was the holy goat who hid baby Zeus in the mountains of Crete, to prevent him from being ravaged by his raging father Cronus.
With a production history that dates back to centuries ago, graviera is a Cretan trademark, and, after feta, the second most popular cheese in Greece. Typically made from sheep’s milk or sheep’s milk mixed with a small amount of goat’s milk, it is a hard cheese with a pale to deep yellow colour, and mouthwatering rich flavours and aromas. Depending on the level of its maturation, graviera may be buttery and somewhat sweet, or with a spicier, more nutty taste, as ageing accentuates. In any case, it is a palatable experience to savour, whether on its own with some Cretan wine or raki, with bread and rusks, in salads, sandwiches and pasta or as a dessert with honey.
Tiromalama (or Malaka)
Often likened to mozzarella, this fresh, soft and moist cheese boasts a distinct milky-sweet taste and is made during the first stages of graviera production. Thanks to its pliable texture and creamy flavours, it is typically used as a filling for the famous kalitsounia pies: A Cretan culinary staple, these small, stuffed pastries with cheese and herbs are so moreish that will keep you asking for more!
Supercharged with calories as well as flavour, staka is a widely used, traditional Cretan dairy product that is made from the creamy, fatty top layer of boiled sheep’s and/or goat’s milk. Whether added to pasta and rice dishes (such as the signature gamopilapho), soups, stews, and pies, enjoyed as a dip or a side dish, or consumed with eggs, sourdough bread, and apaki (smoked pork) for breakfast, staka and stakovoutiro (staka butter), largely account for the incredible taste of Cretan food.
Made from smoked pork, apáki has a distinctive aroma of local herbs – sage, bay, rosemary, oregano, marjoram or thyme. This signature Cretan delicacy comes from Byzantine times when curing was the only way to preserve meat for longer periods. Typically served cold, in thin slices as an appetizer, apáki is also delectable when added to omelettes or salads.
3. Wild Greens
A staple of the world-famous Cretan diet since time immemorial, wild greens grow naturally, with no human intervention on the island’s slopes and are credited with an array of incredible health benefits. Recent scientific research focuses on their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, demonstrating that they protect us from carcinogenesis, atherosclerosis, bloating and even modern lifestyle ailments, like stress.
According to the earliest written accounts, Cretans -who are renowned for their longevity- have been consuming edible wild greens for more than 2.500 years: The rural population has been typically mixing 20 to 30 different kinds of vegetables in the pies they make every day. Wild greens may be cooked in a variety of ways or simply eaten as a salad with extra virgin olive oil: Crete’s liquid gold is in fact essential in bringing out those veggies’ flavour and nutrients, whilst their combination is nothing short of a palatable treat.
Where and what to eat in Apokoronas, Chania
You might now know what to eat in Apokoronas, Chania, but you might be wondering where. The region boasts a remarkable culinary heritage but not all that shines is gold. Tourist traps are quite widespread and you’d best avoid them.
At the Adeste Chania Luxury Villas, a complex of independent seaview luxury villas in Apokoronas just off Kokkino Chorio, on the foot of the White Mountains, food is at the vanguard of our hospitality philosophy.
Opt for our chef on demand villa service and you’ll have your personal culinarian concocting tailor-made treats for you to enjoy in the privacy of your 5 star home away from home in Chania.
We have also joined forces with a local “mamma” who cooks 3-course meals: Prepared with locally sourced seasonal ingredients and designed to showcase the best of Cretan cuisine and flavours. Whether for lunch, dinner or to take away with you on the beach, our packed meals are delivered right at your doorstep, five days a week, Monday to Friday and must be ordered at least 24h in advance.
On the other hand, if you are looking for more flexibility and choice, with our dining in-villa service you may take your pick from our carefully selected list of local restaurants: All checked and vetted for their quality and authenticity, and just a phone call away.
Our dedicated concierge is at your disposal too, to arrange restaurant reservations, foodie tours, olive oil tastings, winery visits or hands-on cooking classes. And if you want to up the ante, why not ask them to put together a romantic proposal dinner with the help of a private chef?
To quote the unforgettable Antony Bourdain “food, culture, people and landscape are all absolutely inseparable”. This is especially true in the case of Crete, where its unique tastes, flavours and aromas are in themselves an experience. With travel once again made possible, why not treat yourselves to a culinary adventure in Chania?