Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Crete Sweet

The Isle of Crete is the largest of all Greek islands, it has a unique culture that is a little different than the rest of the Greek islands, and the mainland as well.  Geographically it's fairly far from the mainland, and it wasn't until 1912 that Crete became officially part of Greece.  So what does that have to do with the sweet treats that I sampled?  With an influence from Greece, but not a direct connection, Cretan food has a really unique twist. It's very Greek inspired, but with changes based on local products and tastes.  There is a pride in the local products, even the simplest of dishes show off the ingredients, instead of the process.
One of the great specialties of Crete is these sweet cheese pies.  They're covered in local honey and filled with a cheese that has a slight bite to it, but is smooth and creamy.  The balance between the cheese and the sweet honey is just perfect and the filo crunch gives it a great texture.
As I said above, Crete takes many classic Greek recipes and makes them slightly different, some might argue better.  The Loukoumades (Greek donuts) are a great example of this.  They're light and fluffy, not very oily at all, and similar to the sweet cheese pies, they're covered in a wonderful local honey.  It's a very simple Greek dish made to perfection.
Crete also has a great deal of Venetian history as well, and they're not ashamed to show it off.  Because of this connection to other Southern European countries, they're cooking will often contain sweet treats you might find in France and Italy. The crepes are fantastic and the gelato is wonderful all over the island.
The best thing about enjoying sweet treats in Crete is the delivery.  There is never a sense of urgency when you're eating, and some of the best customer service I've ever had in Greek restaurants came from Crete.  Sure there are some pushy restaurateurs, but many places really know how to make you feel relaxed.  This is perfect, because enjoying your sweet treat slowly next to the sea or in a small pedestrian street really makes it taste so much better.


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