We’ve got into a routine of going to Chania street markets, to buy all our fruit and veg, yoghurt and cheeses. For example, on a Monday its in a narrow street, just up from Elefteria Square.
Its a real experience, and we’ve got to know some of the stall holders, We talk a bit in whatever – “with hands and feet” as Yasmin would say, a bit of Greek, English, German. And also lots of hand waving, and smiling!
You can find the Chania street markets on different days on this map, which also shows the winter and summer places.
Our favourite stalls: honey
One of our favorites is Dora, the Honey! Her honeys come from their hives in Falassana, on the western most tip of Crete. Very unusually for Crete, she sells a whole series of separate flavours. Firstly there’s the usual thyme honey – like you can get all over the island, aromatic and intense. Its gathered in June. Then there is heather is reputed to be the most beneficial with minerals and vitamins, thats in flower in October. Afterwards pine honey, dark, spicy and piquant. It comes from the south of the island and is harvested in just 14 days in August. But our favorite is orange blossom, with the most gorgeous delicate citrus flavours. Orange blossom is out in April.
Then there’s the orange man, very important for us with our daily fresh orange juice! He’s a gem, so generous, always friendly and cheerful, and always insisting on giving us extra fruit, mandarins, clementines, eating oranges.
Yoghurt and Cheese
Mastorakis is the dairy, based in Tsitsifes, a mountain village nearby Xiliomoudou. They make a yoghurt which is tangy and sharp, with a firm texture. What’s unique about it, in our experience is that it does not produce any whey over time – so many of the other yoghurts shed whey after a few days. You can find out more about yoghurts and cheeses in another blog.
Another of our favorites, is their low fat goats milk cheese – beautiful texture, and delicate taste. They also have fresh goat and sheep milk, but we need to be there early as they often sell out.
There’s a stall selling virtually only herbs – heaps of vivid green parsley, dill, mint, sometimes coriander and fennel.
Its strange that the Cretans don’t deal with more herbs, and their cooking reflects a conservative approach – thyme, oregano, parsley, dill and mint.
Bringing it home!
At the Chania street markets all the serious shoppers have a shopping trolley – partly so you can thrust your way thru the crowd, running over feet not quick enough to get out of the way! But also to carry the massive amounts of fresh produce! 10 kilos of oranges; apples, pears, bananas; broccoli. Then there’s the vegetables: courgettes, red peppers; herbs & spring onions; potatoes, onions, carrots; oak leaf & lollo biondi lettuce, rucola. Not to forget the local greens: stamnagathi & others.
The olive man
The olive man did not want his picture taken – maybe its his religion, maybe he’s shy, or maybe its the tax man?! But his olives are great, we particularly like the ones preserved with pergamon – bitter orange. We asked him why each of the olives is sliced, “its what we always do” he said!
If you’d like to sample these fresh produce, come to stay with us at Panokosmos. The luxury of a first class hotel, the privacy of a private villa, the atmosphere of staying with friends.
Lots more to see and do…
In any case for your holiday in Crete you might like to look at our blogs which show things to do in Crete, whether it be walking a gorge, hiking in the foothills of the White Mountains, or taking a drive to see the sites. Chania is a great town to visit, particularly to go to the street markets, and of course you’ll want to get the benefits of the Cretan diet – be it the yoghurt and cheese, or the olive oil.