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Cretan Diet

Cretan Diet

Modern Cretans feel the urge to share the secrets of their well-being with the world. Besides their history and culture, they are also willing to share with people their prized cultural heritage known as CRETAN DIET.

Cretan producers and local processing, packaging, and marketing companies warrant that all Cretan products are pure, without chemical substances or other preservatives and additives.

Cretan products, being part of a centuries-old tradition, are treated with the same respect as that afforded to them by our ancestors.

Rethymno is a place to experience the finest cuisine, which can be found in many tavernas in and out of the city. You also get to see and learn about the making of simple Cretan dishes.

Olive oil, wine, wheat, honey, milk, cheese, meat, greens, and vegetables – the ingredients used in Cretan cuisine are plain, precise, clear, and, most important, genuine and natural.

The Cretan gastronomy is based on the produce of the fields, which guarantees a wholesome diet and contributes to the Cretan’s good health and long life span.

Cretan cooking does not depend on various techniques of preparation. Its success lies in the ingredients that are used.


Rethymno is a place to experience the finest cuisine, which can be found in many tavernas in and out the city.


Rethymno provides a comfortable and warm atmosphere that’s perfect for a casual lunch or dinner or a place to take the family out. 
There is something to please everyone on the menu of restaurants inspired by Cretan cuisine. 
Owing to the olive oil, which is often used as a main ingredient, Cretan dishes are particularly delicious.
Try a variety of freshly made local dishes, such as fresh salads, “dacos”, fried snails (boubourista), “apaki” (smoked pork), and lamb cooked as “tsigariasto” or “antikristo” and “gamopilafo” (traditional Cretan pilaf).
Don’t miss the chance to taste the local cheeses like “feta”, “graviera”, “myzithra” and the unique “stakoboutiro” (butter from sheep and/or goat).
As a dessert, the people of Rethymno prefer homemade sweets such as cheese pies from myzithra cheese, a fried pastry with honey, "lichnarakia" (small sweet cheese pies), and fresh fruits.

Experience the Cretan diet and learn the secret ingredients by participating in a series of culinary workshops.




The Cretan Diet Festival

The Municipality of Rethymno revives one of its oldest cultural institutions, “The Cretan Diet Festival”.

The events are clearly oriented to the promotion of awarded Cretan products, especially local wine.

The Cretan Diet has long been hailed as healthy, based on high-fiber fresh fruits, vegetables, and pulses, as well as on fresh fish and dairy products.

The Festival is organized July 1-7 annually. It’s a week full of tastes, colors, and music showcasing high-quality Cretan products. Typical events offerings:

  • Bazaar of Cretan products
  • Food and wine seminars where visitors can be informed by experts about the methods of production, their attributes, their high-quality standards, and their health benefits.
  • Special menus are offered by restaurants and hotels based on local products and ingredients.
  • Many more cultural events with the participation of well-known Cretan artists as well as from the rest of Greece.

For more information visit: 


Center of Cretan Gastronomy


The Center of Cretan Gastronomy was founded by the Region of Crete and is housed in the three-story neoclassical building built in 1933, known as "Manousaki Mansion" in Argiroupoli near Rethymno.

The center operates under the umbrella of the Agri-Food Partnership of the Region of Crete, with the aim of connecting the primary sector with tourism, promoting the brand "Crete" for services and businesses, and promoting Cretan Gastronomy through educational and experiential programs for children and adults.

For more information - reservations, contact: 
Tel 6979552591 



Local Products

Crete’s greatest treasure is located in its varied diet heritage. Every summer the Cretan Diet Festival takes place in the Municipal Garden of Rethymno, as an established gastronomy event. Open to the public, it promises to present a variety of local products, generously grown in Cretan soil, through the love and effort of the producers and exhibitors.

The quality and taste of the Cretan traditional products have made them world-known, that’s why they are considered as a perfect gift to offer. Among the most highly recommended local products to find in Rethymno’s unique Deli-shops are:

Olive oil

There are different types of olive oil depending on its acidity level.
Extra virgin olive oil is the most expensive type of olive oil as it is also of the highest quality. Extra virgin olive oil is completely unrefined and has the lowest acidity level as compared to other types of olive oil. It is also very rich in antioxidants and has the highest amount of minerals and vitamins found in olives. It is usually golden green in color and adds a distinct flavor to your food.
Virgin olive oil is also an unrefined type of olive oil which means no chemicals or heat is used while extracting the oil. The only difference with extra virgin olive oil is a slightly higher oleic acidity level. It can also be used for baking.
Refined olive oil is cheaper than virgin olive oil. However, as compared to extra virgin or virgin olive oil, it is inferior in terms of vitamins, nutrients, and even taste and flavor.
Pure olive oil is a blend of extra virgin and refined olive oil. It is also lower in nutritional value as compared to virgin olive oil and is recommended for using it as a hair and skin oil instead of for cooking purposes.

You can have a unique olive oil-tasting experience in many places, among them at Agreco Farm in Adele, at the Olive oil Museum in Kapsaliana, and at the Cretan Gastronomy Center in Argiroupoli.


Cretans are very well aware of the health benefits of moderate wine consumption; it is part of their culture: good wine is a perfect accompaniment to every dinner. Consumption of wine is not a solitary practice; it goes hand in hand with social events, good company, and comradeship. Modern wine industries of Crete have exploited the traditional great varieties and the centuries-old accumulated knowledge of wine-making. The typical Cretan wine varieties are vidiano, liatiko, mantilari and kotsifali. The most famous wineries of Rethymno are Klados Winery at Skepasti Mylopotamou, Kourkoulos Winery at Patsos of Amari, Zoumberakis Vineyards at Kali Sikia and Iliana Malihin winery at Melabes.

Cretan chees


Cheese, such as graviera, anthotiros, xinomizithra, serves as accompaniment or appetizer throughout the day. It offers vitamins A & D, proteins and calcium. Daily consumption of fresh dairy products is vital for the human body to benefit from its essential nutrients. You can find a big variety of traditional cheese in various delicatessen shops all over the town or in special cheese-making units.


Rusks baked in wooden oven, sweet or salty, are always a hit when you get back home. There are over 20 species of barley round rusks. Some are hard, others are soft with more or less barley flour, all suitable for a snack. The best, without the round hole in the middle where the top of the other ingredients spread out comfortably and irrigate with their liquid hard barley rusks making it so soft. In the Old Town of Rethymno, there are plenty of traditional local bakeries.

Traditional pastry

In the Old Town of Rethymno you can find the local workshop of Giorgos Chatziparaschos, one of the last pastry makers in Greece specializing in handmade sweets like kataifi.

Raki Cretan distilled spirit

Raki or Tsikoudia

It is a strong distilled spirit produced from the must-residue of the wine-press. During the drink's distillation process, there is a huge celebration among family, friends, and neighbors.


It is called the chocolate of Crete. Carob trees flourish particularly in Crete which is known for the production and the best quality carobs and carob products, such as "charoupomelo" (carob syrup), carob powder, carob snacks, carob candies, carob cream, carob liqueur, carob coffee. Carob has excellent nutritional value, as it is rich in calcium and proteins and is linked with various health benefits.

Cretan traditional sweetene


Cretan honey is well known for its rich nutritional value, as it strengthens the immune system and rejuvenates the human body. Honey is the first traditional sweetener used by Greeks since antiquity. In fact, honey along with olives and grapes formed the beginnings of Greek gastronomy. The rich Greek flora biodiversity, with a high percentage of endemic plants, includes a wide variety of honey emanating from thyme, pine, fir, and other conifers.

Cretan herbs

Cretan herbs are a great tradition of the island with a large number of endemic plants, such as malotira, diktamo, faskomilo, mantzourana, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and laurel. In Crete today, there are numerous herbs that have been used since antiquity as medicinal plants with exceptional therapeutic properties. In the Old Town, you can find a plethora of shops selling local herbs and spices coming right from the heart of Crete!

Awarded Restaurants


Rethymno has a lot of surprises for fine dining and gastronomic experiences.

Rethymno's best dining establishments have been awarded Greek Cuisine awards for Contemporary Greek Cuisine, Traditional Greek Cuisine, and many more are hosting authentic cuisine offering an amazing culinary proposal that is wonderfully enhanced by farm-to-table dishes.

The gastronomic tradition of Rethymno is honored and recognized throughout the country. Four restaurants are included in the list of the Greek Cuisine Awards 2022:

HASIKA: Greek Traditional Cuisine Award                                            
AVLI:     Greek Contemporary Cuisine Award                              
ELAIA:   Greek Traditional Cuisine Award                                  
ALEKOS: Greek Contemporary Cuisine Award


There are many restaurants and taverns for every mood with great food and an extensive collection of local dishes in or out of the city. Lovers of gastronomy will enjoy the flavors of authentic dishes based on traditional recipes and local products. Ingredients play a vital role in Traditional Cretan Gastronomy. Dishes made with local high-quality ingredients fresh seasonal fruits, herbs, and vegetables from local producers. The menus reflect an innovative patchwork of complex, bold flavors based on varied Cretan recipes brought together with warm hospitality.

Wine lovers will be able to visit local wineries and experience the production of fresh local wine. Being awarded Recevine as a wine city with decent production and labels appreciated by wine experts, wine tourism is a delicious surprise for visitors. Wine cellar restaurants offer an exceptional dining experience in an amazingly ambient cellar venue with an award-winning wine list and friendly, unpretentious service brought to you by talented staff. Best of all you can pair local wine with well-known Cretan dishes that are commonly enjoyed by people of many different cultures.

Hand-crafted cocktails and local dishes ("mezedes") are offered in the local cozy “rakadika” and cafes that are spread out all over the historic center. The bars in the historic center and the coastal road of El. Venizelou takes a more innovative approach with cocktails made with “tsikoudia” as a main ingredient.


City of Rethymno

You are invited to travel to areas, which are perhaps still unknown to the majority, and which are sometimes remote, but always magical and magnificent throughout the seasons. We recommend our visitors to see our picturesque villages through the eyes of the soul, try the Cretan cuisine, our wine and “tsikoudia”, participate in our revelries and festivities, but most importantly get to know our soul, our hospitality, the safe, untouched interior of the region, the other Rethymno.
Rethymno Guide       visitgreece2
small map of Rethymnon, Crete, Greece
Department of Tourism
  tourism (@)
  +30 28310 21459
  +30 28310 21459
  21 El. Venizelou Str, 74100, Rethymno, Crete, Greece

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