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Crete

Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete , one of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece. The capital and the largest city is Heraklion.

Cretan cuisine

The core of the Cretan cuisine consists of food derived from natural sources, whereas food of animal origin was more peripheral in nature. In general, people consumed seasonal products, available in the wider local area, which underwent minimal processing or none at all. The traditional cuisine was widespread in the island until the 1960s when, with improving living standards, alimentary patterns changed towards more meat and other animal-derived produce.

Fresh fruit and dried fruits, pulses, endemic wild herbs and aromatic plants, and rough cereals, whose cultivation was favored by the regional climate, were consumed in great amounts and constituted the base of the Cretan cuisine during that period. Dairy products were consumed on a daily basis in low to moderate quantities. Poultry and fish were consumed on a weekly basis in moderate quantities, whereas red meat was consumed only a few times a month. The main supply of fat was effectuated by olive oil, which was used not only in salads but also in cooking, unlike the northern European countries which primarily used animal fat. Another essential feature of the Cretan cuisine was the moderate use of alcohol, mainly red wine which accompanied meals. Finally, the most common dessert was yogurt and fresh fruits, while traditional pastry based on honey had been consumed a few times a week