Meze: The Quintessense of Cretan Gastronmy

If Crete were a table, it would be a lavish spread of delectable sharing dishes, meze in Greek, thrown together under a vine arbour in a summer courtyard with waves lapping at your bare feet and the sea salt drying in your hair.

The meze experience is like a magical filter. It stretches time turning a moment into eternity. “Come in for a meze”, is something you hear so often in Crete either addressing a friend or a stranger. Because beyond food, having a meze means sharing: sharing the company of others, sharing moments of discussion and communication, sharing time. During the meze ritual, life decompresses, it slows down and between small bites of delicious specialities you appreciate the joy of colors and textures, the overall sense of abundance.

The origins of this inestimable tradition lie in the eastern Mediterranean custom of offering every visitor refreshment. Nowdays, the tradition of meze has carried on as it is a great way to enjoy food in the summer when the weather is hot and a heavy meal is probably not the best option.

A tomato cut in four; a few olives; a salted sardine; a couple of shellfish fresh from the sea; a slice or two of cheese; salted almonds; dried figs; some quickly fried meatballs in a pan. In the mountains it may include air dried ham or sausage, morsels of liver; on the coast, seafood tritters, oysters, sun-dried octapus, and sea urchins, as well as an array of seasonal vegetables. Some or all of these are present on the table when the glasses raise to clink for the first of many “Yeia mas!”.

 

Because meze is aided by alcohol, that is tsipouro, ouzo, wine or beer. But specifically in Crete,  tsikoudia is never absent from a gatering. It is tsikoudia that stimulates the conversation to flow, breaks the boundaries, connects the people around the table translating as a hug, a smile, a “thank you” or occasionally as “I’m sorry”.

Endowed with all the facets of human emotions and activities of the locals, meze combines the bounty of nature with the seasonability of local products into uniquely attractive, aromatic, gustatory and nutritional flavours. It is for this reason that, though an island, Crete shows a strong preference for turf than surf in the meze, turning to its mountains for flavours.

Among the most favourable meze ingredients are olives and various types of cheese made from sheep bred in Apokoronas, olive oil from Koroneiki olive trees harvested from the ancient groves of Kolibari, sweet oranges from Maleme and carob rusk from Sfakia, a staple at every meal for centuries. There are, however, 5 meze dishes that you must taste in Crete together with your friends.

Cretan Dakos

Composed of Cretan rusk, freshly trimmed tomato, white myzithra cheeze, olive oil and seasoned with fresh oregano or thyme, Dakos can be prepared in several variations and is perhaps the most well-known and refreshing Cretan meze, made with some of Crete’s most famous products. 

Fried Zucchini

Finely cut zucchini, deep fried in olive oil and served with fresh yoghurt or tzatziki is perhaps the best treat for hot summer nights. Fried zucchini can be eated as a side dish or even as chips with your beer, wine, or tsikoudia. 

Auberigine Salad

Local aubergines are especially tasty due to the ideal climate and soil of Crete. The best way to try them is as a spread with freshly cut parsley, tomato, garlic and feta cheese.

Kalitsounia

Filled either with cheese or with wild greens and covered with sesame, kalitsounia is another titbit that adds to the synthesis of a typical Cretan meze. Escorting ice-cold tsikoudia is kalitsounia is undoubtedly a meze you should not leave wwwithout trying.

Chaniotika Bourekakia

Potatoes, zucchinis,  mint , mizithra cheese, tomato sauce, and olive oil are the basic igredients for a signature plate named after Chania. Healthy and light is one of the dishes you will find irresistable.

If food discovery is among the exciting travel expectations you want to live, you should consider exploring the distinctive flavours of the Cretan meze at the sea, during a daily cruise with friends or family.

At Chania Yachting we are excited to satisfy your apetite and provide you with an amazing waterfront experience that will satisfy every taste and tantalize all your senses offering:

 

  1. Exquisite Meze Platters

An assortment of local delicacies in delicious combinations prepared with the freshest and best locally sourced products that will indulge even the most demanding palate

2. Breathtaking Views

Greeny bays with crystal waters and white and pink sand wedged between granite cliffs reflectthe essense of the Cretan meze: intense, rich and exhilarating

3. Our Culinary Team

The people behind all preparations will take into account your most fervent likes and ardent dislikes to design the meze that suits your tastes. We accommodate all kinds of special diets, so that your foodie cruise is memorable the way you would in enjoy it.

4. The Romantic Dinner Version

If, instead of sharing a meze platter with friends onboard, your choice is a special dinner with your partner under the stars, do not hesitate to contact our event planner and together we will customize a perfect evening for you

5. “Geia Mas!”

Distilled from grapes from our own vineyard, we are looking forward to raising our shot glasses with you for a drink to health and prosperity

 

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