Cretan Cheese

Cretan cheese

In Crete there is a big production of a variety of cheese. Cretan eat cheese during the day, in their breakfast, lunch and meal, as e presnack or as main snack (it is called meze) and they also eat as desert (with Cretan honey or in small pies called mizithropitakia). The Cretan cheese is considered to be a product of exquisite quality and it can complete other cheese around the world!

History of Cheese

The history of cheese begins 8.000 BC when the Middle East, particularly in Iran, the first domesticated ruminants. Several thousand years later, around 4.000 BC, the first sheep appear on the Mediterranean coast. According to a legend, the first cheese was made accidentally by an Arab merchant who was traveling in the desert with him carrying milk in a sack sap sheep stomach. The pithia the walls of the stomach and the heat caused the coagulation of milk. The value of food as assessed by the ancient Greeks as to call it divine gift. The first evidence of breeding sheep and diet with goat milk is in Greek mythology. The father of the gods, Zeus, chased by his father Cronus whisked away from his mother, Rhea, in a cave on Mount Dikti of Crete. There grows with the care of a goat, Amalthea and fed to dairy products of Crete, Livestock production in Crete since nature has not changed. Based on small animals, sheep, goats and not cows. Also free range or stabled livestock. The animals of Crete is full time or mitata freely and feed almost exclusively with Cretan herbs and shrubs.

The plains and mountains of Crete native plants and shrubs with unique flavor and high nutritional value. This feature of the flora, in conjunction with local animal breeds, helps to have a product with character. The local breeds of livestock are fully acclimatized to the climatic conditions of the island so no need to use medicines and antibiotics.

The traditional form of farming based on many centuries of experience with one essential difference that the processing of milk is no longer next to other pens in cheese making facilities that maintain traditional cheese-making, while complying with all manner of meticulous hygiene and food safety based on the specifications set by the European community.

In modern unit’s sheep and goat milk is not collected in the traditional way. During milking, the animals are led to Milking machines where milk machines via closed-circuit pipe, resulting in the tanks. So we have minimal human contact and achieve the high quality of the product.

The Cretan cheese at table.

The traditional cheese is not only food but also an information carrier for the flora, the tastes, social culture and lifestyle of the region of origin. In Crete, the cheese is consumed all hours of the day from morning until late at night, as a side or as main delicacy, as an appetizer or as a dessert. Official or otherwise in the table strewn Cretan cheese is missing. High level of culinary combinations watermelon with feta cheese, melon with feta cheese, or cheese with honey.

The nutrition value of cheese.

The dairy products consumed were goats and sheep’s milk, which were also used in the production of cheese and yoghurt, consumed daily in small, however, quantities. Studies have shown that consumption of dairy products reduces the risk of hypertension, stroke and large intestine cancer (Alvarez-Leon et al. 2006). It has been suggested that large consumption of dairy with all fats may be connected to increased risk of prostate cancer, but this has not been confirmed in numerous studies (Alvarez-Leon et al. 2006, Park et al. 2007, Huncharek et al. 2008). In general, consumption of dairy products to a certain extent does not involve any risks for our health, whereas it possesses important benefits and should be included in the framework of a well balanced diet.

Cheeses with denomination of origin.

Each member of the European community carries the manners and customs of the, local and traditional products fully characterized by climatic conditions, raw materials and long experience of producers and technicians of the site

The European Union has traditionally millennia now provide a legal framework for the protection of local traditional products. The PDO, protected designation of origin refers to a cheese whose production is done in designated geographical area using recognized know-how.

On that basis we have so far in Greece, from about already recorded 70 to 20 cheeses labeled as PDO and 3 of them in Crete, namely Graviera of Crete, xynomyzithra and pichtogalo of Chania. In the certification process and others are 7 types of Cretan cheese.


Mixture of cheese whey and fresh milk cohesive mass and a pinch of salt. It has a maximum humidity of 70% and a minimum fat content of 65% dry matter. Produced from sheep and goat milk. Matures with time and the help of salt hardens and loses moisture. The name may be derived from the flower of the cheese and the AGC of cheese, which means ash Athos, and a cheese when ripe looks like they have thrown ashes over it. It is suitable for spaghetti.


Cheese, cheese-making process very simple, where milk is converted into cheese with a natural sharpening, is cuts. Not tradable and cheese is mostly in homes. It has the same texture and flavor to Hania Cretan cheese and sour cream cheese. It is tasty, soft and light sourness. Ideal for Cretan Dakos.

Gruyere Crete.

Taste slightly salty, full of butter and milk proteins.Made from goat's milk. The best quality when it is produced from pure sheep's milk. Prepare heads in weight from 5 to 25 pounds. The analysis is 38% moisture, 38.4% fat on dry salt 1.5%. Eaten as such, raw, fruit and bread, cooked in pies, as well breaded fried.

Pichtogalo Chania.

Simple everyday cheese produced in the prefecture of Chania, Crete. Has giaourtodi texture and slightly sour taste. Made from unpasteurized sheep's milk or a mixture. A humidity of 65%, fat in dry matter 50%, protein 16-20%, about 1% salt. Used in pies or eaten as such. This cheese is the Hania bougatsa.


Cheese with cohesive mass and yellowish color. The flavor is salty, spicy and greasy. Produced in many parts of Greece from sheep's milk, or a mixture of sheep and goat. The fat content of 40% dry matter, and a maximum humidity of 38% with a sufficient amount of salt. Ideal for pasta.

Malaka cheese.

The cheese mass is obtained in the first stage of the gruyere cheese-making I is elastic and homogeneous and exclusively used in pies and mainly Hania cake made with 4 cheeses, lamb and mint.


A cheese made in Greece and the whey from cheese-making of other cheeses. Inside the whey added fresh milk, warmed again with Pithia, and shows a soft fresh cheese almost lean soft and neutral flavor. High in fat so it should be consumed in moderation if dieting. Has an average of 70% humidity, and 50% fat in dry matter. Used in confectionery. Serving fresh fruits and offered as an appetizer or as a dessert with honey.

Xigalo Sitia.

Cheese with a creamy texture that is produced exclusively in Sitia. Its taste resembles xinomyzithra and piktogalo Chania. It has a rich flavor, slightly tart and fresh. Prepare only in Sitia.


An exclusively Cretan cheese, wherein the cheese milk with fresh milk are left for 24 hours in the natural temperature sour. Made from a mixture of sheep and goat milk. Have 50% moisture, 23% fat, 15% protein and 2% salt. It is ideal for pies and diets.


Among cheese and yoghurt another different dairy product. The chip (cream) of the milk from the milking lightly salted and stored. When you gather a sufficient amount of heated over low heat for several days and a small quantity of flour, thus separating proteins from fat. The fat is collected separately and is famous stakovoutyro while white and PSVT mass of proteins is famous stack. Cooked with eggs, spaghetti, rice or in pies.


Traditional cheese from domestic sheep and goat. Prepared from boiled milk and gelled with sour milk or vinegar instead pithias fig. Lightly salted and unsalted with elastic texture.