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Cheese, a special product of Cretan Gastronomy

by John Apostolakis, Chef, MAICH, Member of the Board of the Cretan Gastronomy Club

Product of the local tradition of animal husbandry, pure fresh milk raised the father of the gods. With ahistory of several hundred years, this is the product that nourished people in poorer times. Nowadays, we treat it in a defamatory manner, preferring cheeses whose milk comes from animals that have not seen sunlight, which have not tasted grass or herbs, irrigated by the salinity of the sea.

Cheeses derived from locally produced milk are tasty, qualitative, much more superior to the knowledgeable among us and the professionals who handle these products and use them as the base in the preparation of various dishes, such as kalitsounia, dakos, bougatsa and many other delicacies. Take for instance ANTHOGALO cream, a blessing that is gifted to us by animals reared by and enjoying the taste of aromatic grasses, many of which are unique in the world; it is difficult to find such a concentrated flavor in any other kind of butter; a lusty sin, which, when prepared as staka causes a gastronomic orgasm in our palate, or when you try potatoes fried in olive oil and pour staka over them, it becomes the delicacy that provokes a kind of euphoria, which would be the envy even of those who harp on about foie gras and other such products manufactured by various methods.


Spartan psp In the Apokoronas region, there is a restaurant that serves sigoumo, a kind of ANTHOTIRO that is warmed and crushed before being placed in a punnet; this kind of gourmet frenzy is rarely encountered in other dishes. But let us take just the dry ANTHOTIRO: if used in pasta or salads it exudes a wonderful flavor as we come to taste and smell concentrated aromas of herbs and aromatic grasses that the animals have been fed on to give us the little milk they have produced. Regarding the famous and much prized graviera, to manufacture the required amount, approximately 7 kg of milk is needed to give us a pound of graviera, depending on the season.

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If left at room temperature for 1-2 hours – 2 hours before consumption – we give the cheese the opportunity to develop its unique personality to give us its wonderful aromas, causing our palate to experience ecstasy, while recording gastronomic memories. If we are lucky to find aged (mature) gruyere, we can slice it in thin flakes or make it into graviera punnets, or complement a cheese tray, displaying the rich aromas of the herbs – herbs that the animal has been raised on, especially if the milk was produced towards the end of winter or early spring, when the land is rich in its variety of grasses and scents. As for the curd cheese, if used in the preparation of a salad and is combined with leafy green vegetables, or with tomato and olive oil, then you will exclaim spontaneously that you have never tried such a salad before, because the combination of these ingredients gives us a wonderful creamy sauce that stimulates the taste buds of the palate to be able to accept other food with pleasure and enthusiasm.

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With reference to MALAKA, which many if us are not only too ashamed to pronounce, but also to taste it, if it is prepared in the form of slivers and added to salads or used elsewhere, then it will definitely change their minds, as this type of cheese is rich in fat, ideal for baking in the oven; when it melts, it bathes the food with its flavor. It is also ideal for those who avoid salt in their diet since salt is not at all used in its production.

Source: Network of Cretan Gastronomy

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