The cuisine of Crete is certainly not characterized as ‘rich’ in regards to the variety of the materials used, at least according to the contemporary perception of what “rich” stands for.
Cretan cuisine is a way of life: simple, unadorned, without redundant spices and flavour enhancers. It is based on the pure, unprocessed goods the Cretan land offers, and on a heartfelt dedication to traditional ways of cooking.
The core element of the traditional Cretan diet, is food from vegetable sources, while animal origin food is of occasional consumption. In brief, Cretans consume seasonal products, locally produced, which have undergone little, if any, processing. Fresh and dried fruit, honey, legumes, vegetables, endemic wild greens and herbs, unprocessed grains and nuts, are present in abundance. Dominant in the Cretan diet is olive oil, which is used as the main source of fat in salads and in food preparation, unlike the countries of northern Europe, where mostly animal fats or other types of oil is used instead. Olive oil prevails in the Cretan diet, as is the most powerful natural antioxidant and of high nutritional value.