The trip to bountiful… Discovering nature’s culinary gifts in Crete!

A visit here to Rimondi, on the glorious island of Crete, is simply the pathway to discovering a world of nature’s bounty that Crete has been providing Greece and the world since ancient times. Set out with us on this gastronomic journey, with Mother Nature as our guide, to all the wondrous products of the earth we have enjoyed and shared since the beginning of time.

We all know very well these days, the endless benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, or as we like to call it, the Cretan Diet! So many of the products so crucial to this healthy eating lifestyle originate in Greece, in particular Crete, and are still found on the same hillsides, still cultivated on the same farmland, and still foraged with the same methods, as ancient times.

Photo credits: Nikchick on Flickr

Here on our naturally abundant land and sea, you will find all the natural ingredients found in this renowned, healthful diet, including but not limited to, our aromatic herbs and fresh wild greens, our wide variety of vegetables and fruits, grains, seafoods, meats, various dairy products including yogurt and cheeses, virgin olive oil, honey and fennel, the list goes on and on, with all these divine tastes brought forth from the fine Cretan earth.

Hike through the blossoming fields and mountain forests, and wander the open markets, the fresh and natural aromas stimulating the senses, and especially the appetite! So why not have your first fine Cretan meal right here at Rimondi, with all the freshness you can imagine from locally-sourced products. Let our experienced chefs guide you on a culinary adventure of Cretan delights, not only healthy, but incredibly delicious, the perfect combination!

Cretan cuisine is well known as some of the most nutritious and healthy in the world, and much has been made of the longevity of the Cretan people, in large part from the benefits of their diet. All Cretans pride themselves on dishes prepared with only the most pure ingredients, the highest quality products of the Cretan earth, with few spices to mask all the natural flavors. Some particularly Cretan signature dishes you must try are selino me araka (celery with peas), agrimi stifado (braised wild goat), chicken with chestnuts, makarounia sioufichta (handmade pasta of flour, water, salt and olive oil, served with cheese), chochlioi bourbouristoi (snails), chicken with yoghurt and lamb with artichokes.

Photo credits: Kim van Velzen on Flickr

Accompany your culinary journey with a glass of hearty Cretan wine like the flavorful red marouvas. Cretan wines excel among Greek wines because of the wide variety and sophisticated taste. Each Cretan prefecture produces their own varieties of excellent quality. It might be worth noting that the oldest glass of wine was found in Crete and dates back 3,500 years, so yes, we’ve got a lot of experience in winemaking!

After dinner, an icy cold tsikoudia (raki) hits the spot, a traditional Cretan spirit distilled from the must of local grapes, traditionally served proudly and complimentary in local tavernas, as a gesture of Cretan hospitality. This lively spirit is the trademark drink of Crete, with a very distinctive taste, so you must try it, but be careful not to overdo it, as it can sneak up on you in a most surprisingly powerful way!

And for a non-alcoholic, warm and soothing beverage, there is the much loved aromatic tea made from the wild mountain herb called dittany, or diktamo in Greek. Mountain teas are very important to the everyday lives of the Cretans. In addition to it’s soothing effects, it is curative for colds and sore throat. Tea herbs grow as hardy shrubs, able to survive hot dry summers, and they are much prized.

Crete’s incredibly fertile land and ideal climate contribute greatly to the cultivation of our delicious fruits and vegetables. Especially known for the quality of our citrus including oranges and mandarins, and our tomatoes which abound all over Crete. And every Cretan prefecture produces tons of olive oil each year, as the climate has developed especially hardy and productive olive trees. Also with the wood of the olive tree, Cretans create lovely and useful bowls and serving ware. Subtly fragrant olive oil soaps are also made here, and prized for their gentleness.

Rather surprising to hear, cheese consumption in Crete is the highest per capita of anywhere in the world! Varieties include graviera, kefalograviera, kefalotyri, anthotyro and mizythra among others, all produced in the traditional methods. Ask for the special local cheeses as you travel around Crete, as they are all very much worth trying.

Another fine specialty, Cretan honey is some of the most aromatic you will find, due to the natural production processes of the beekeepers, and you can definitely taste the difference. Do make sure you take some home, we think you’ll agree it’s quality is unmatched.

And while you are here with us in Rethymno, as you wander the streets of the Old Town and Venetian Fortress, follow your nose to discover some special products and dishes which are a specialty of our very own prefecture. Some of the most representative products of Rethymno, our olive oil, cheese, herbs, spice mixes for cooking, teas and wine, as well as our own distinctive raki. So popular are our wines, we have a very well received wine festival each year, where you can come and taste for yourself, along with our distinctive Cretan music, dancing and great food! A particularly lovely accompaniment for these wines is our own local mizithra cheese, naturally low in fat with our signature strong, rich flavor. Products of Rethymno are known for their high quality and distinctiveness, so let us here at Rimondi introduce you to them all!

We’ll be waiting for you to come and discover all these gifts of nature that the Cretan earth offers us all!