Its a wonderful routine to go to Chania street markets, to buy all your fruit and veg, yoghurt and cheeses. For example, on a Monday its in a narrow street, just up from Eleftheria Square.
Its a real experience, and you get to know some of the stall holders, You can communicate with a bit of Greek, English, German, and “hands and feet”. 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 your daily fresh orange juice! He’s a gem, so generous, always friendly and cheerful, and always insisting on giving xtra fruit, mandarins, clementines, eating oranges.
Yoghurt and Cheese
Mastorakis is the dairy, based in Tsitsifes, a mountain village nearby Chiliomoudou. 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!
More about living in Crete
There is much more in our blogs. These 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, and of course you’ll want to get the benefits of the Cretan diet – be it the yoghurt and cheese, or the olive oil.
This Dream Villa
And if you would like to live in a place where you can see these, here is just the place. This is the villa which we designed and built 10 years ago and now reluctantly are ready to sell and move on. Its in the Apokoronas, in the west of the island, 35min drive from Chania, 50min from the international airport.