How about starting your day with an olive oil cake accompanied by a glass of wine to replace your everlasting cup of coffee?Krasopsychia, literally the wine that nourishes the soul, is the traditional breakfast of the Cretans living in the small remote villages of the mountain regions. It has its origins in ancient times and bears witness to the great wine tradition of Crete.Crete, the largest island in the Mediterranean, became a region famous for its wine growing with quality wines from several grape varieties as early as the Minoan period, about 4000 years ago.
The Cretan vineyard, one of the oldest in Europe, grows at an altitude of 600 metres and unfolds down to sea level in no particular order, following the succession of different reliefs, hills or plains, to surprise the visitor. The mild Cretan climate in winter, warm in summer, and all year round richly sunny and refreshed by the sea winds, ensures the ideal conditions for a good shoot growth.
It is then understandable why Crete has such a long wine-making tradition, as evidenced by the archaeological finds at Vathypetro where the oldest wine press in the world was discovered. The local production went through periods of great commercial boom. Between the 1st and 2nd century A.D. Cretan wines, in carefully decorated and sealed amphoras, travelled around the Mediterranean. The reputation of Cretan wine reached its peak with Malvazia wine during the Venetian period, between the 12th and 16th centuries.
It is in this long tradition that the famous "Cretan Diet", so appreciated nowadays and considered as a model of healthy eating, and in which the Cretan wine has of course its place, is part of...
70% of the wine of Crete is produced in the region of the palace of Knossos of the Minoan civilization. Remarkable "industrial units" of maturation and bottling highlight the excellent grape varieties of the country such as Kotsifali, Vilana, Mantilari and they produce some of the most famous wines of Crete.
The traveller will enjoy visiting wine cellars and municipal oil mills and can take part in the cultural events organised every summer as part of the discovery of the "wine trails".
The Heraklion Wine Trails are a circular route created by the Network of Winemakers and designed to allow you to get to know as many representative areas of the Municipality's wine-growing sector as possible.
They combine the visit of regions with remarkable historical monuments and sites related to wine since ancient times, traditional settlements, sites and trails of natural beauty and the most remarkable wineries where you can taste local wines and food.
Wine Trail 1: Heraklion - Knossos - Skalani - Patsides - Kato Archanes
Wine Trail 2: Archanes - Vathypetra - Kounavoi - Katalagari - Peza Valley
Wine Route 3: Peza - Agies Paraskies - Kalloni - Agios Vasileios - Houdetsi
Chemin du Vin 4 : Agies Paraskies - Meleses - Alagni
In autumn the production of raki (brandy), is a continuous festival throughout Crete known as "kazanemata".
Raki is an exceptional drink that comes from the remains of the grapes. It contains double or triple the alcohol content of wine (20 to 30 degrees). The strongest raki is the one that comes out first, during the 10-15 minutes of each vintage and it is called "protoraki" (the first raki).
If you travel to Crete in November you must absolutely visit a rakokazano, where raki is produced. You will have the opportunity to taste the protoraki, coming out of the distillery, accompanied by traditional dishes in an unforgettable feast with Cretan music. The production of raki for the Cretans and especially in this region is an opportunity to meet with friends, to sing, to dance, a feast that starts early in the afternoon and ends the next day.
Do you have any questions about an upcoming trip to Crete? Contact Chryssa from the Evaneos agency for a 100% tailor-made trip and local French-speaking expertise guaranteed! Follow Evaneos news on Facebook and Twitter.
Evaneos with the collaboration of Stella Vassilaki
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