Cretan gastronomy and Cretan Gastronomy restaurants are characterized by fresh ingredients, products of the finest quality and bio raw fruits and vegetables. A big chapter in Cretan Gastronomy that is usually not widely known are herbs. Cretan herbs play a vital role in cooking as they give our dishes aromas, essences and the unique taste that many of our Cretan Gastronomy Dishes  are famous for. In this article from our traditional Cretan restaurant’s blog we will introduce you to the most common herbs found in Cretan Gastronomy.

Oregano: A Cretan Gastronomy king.

Oregano is probably the most commonly used aromatic herb in Cretan Gastronomy. We could generally say that oregano is a popular herb not only in Cretan Cuisine, but also in the Mediterranean cuisine as well. Oregano is used in many Cretan gastronomy dishes such as dakos, cretan lamb, many Cretan barbecue preparations and much more.

Cretan Gastronomy herbs- Oregano (dried)
Cretan Gastronomy herbs- Oregano (dried)- Olive Tree Restaurant Platanias- HennaOregano-spiceCC BY-SA 1.0 .

It can be used in raw form, or it can also be used while sizzling in order to add a distinctive flavor to whatever you sizzle. You can use oregano in every Cretan gastronomy dish you can fancy, as it has a flavor that nearly everyone likes. You just need to be careful and use it in moderation, because if you overdo it it can make your dishes taste bitter.

oregano-authentic Cretan gastronomy herbs - aromatic herbs of Crete
oregano-authentic Cretan gastronomy herbs – aromatic herbs of Crete- Johanna VerhiöOregano penkissäCC BY-SA 4.0 .

Basil: A Cretan Cuisine all time classic.

Basil is a very famous aromatic plant used widely in Mediterranean cuisine. Cretan Cuisine is no exception as it uses basil as decoration in many Cretan dishes, or as a base in order to make fantastic dressings, or sauces. A very famous use of basil is on spaghetti. Basil paste sauce is a very famous sauce in spaghetti in combination with other Cretan ingredients such as garlic, onion and tomatoes. It also works as a nice edible decoration on many Cretan gastronomy restaurants as it gives a lively natural color to our beachfront restaurant’s dishes.

Basil- Aromatic Herbs of Crete and Cretan Gastronomy
Basil- Aromatic Herbs of Crete and Cretan Gastronomy-  CastielliBasil-Basilico-Ocimum basilicum-albahacaCC BY-SA 3.0 .

Rosemary: Ideal for meats of Cretan Cuisine.

Another authentic Mediterranean cuisine herb is Rosemary. It is commonly used as a preservative and also in order to induce flavors into the dish. It is an ideal herb used with meat, especially lamb, poultry and calf. It is also a good supplement for fried fish which Crete is also a proud producer due to its maritime and fishing tradition. It is a perfect aromatic herb for those occasions, while cooking with rosemary is vastly well known. It has a very strong and bitter taste and you need to be careful of the quantity in order to take advantage of its flavors and aromas.

Aromatic Cretan Herb- Rosemary- Olive Tree Restaurant in Platanias, Chania Crete
Aromatic Cretan Herb- Rosemary- Olive Tree Restaurant in Platanias, Chania Crete- Rosemary-7560CC BY-SA 3.0 

Thyme: Α perfect herb’s supplement.

Thyme is another herb very famous in Cretan Cooking and Gastronomy. It has a very strong and distinctive taste which also bees love and prefer in order to make the famous Cretan thyme honey. Thyme is commonly used in Cretan Gastronomy in Pies and in many dishes that contain meat and poultry.

There are many chefs that make a herb combination with thyme. Thyme is commonly combined with basil and oregano as a perfect aromatic herb that compliments meat, poultry and fish and elevates their taste.

Aromatic hebrs of Crete- Cretan Thyme- Olive Tree Cretan Gastronomy Restaurant
Aromatic hebrs of Crete- Cretan Thyme- Olive Tree Cretan Gastronomy Restaurant- Donovan Govan., ThymeCC BY-SA 3.0 .

Grow herbs ideal for Cretan gastronomy in your garden.

While all the herbs are readily available in supermarkets we insist that you plant herbs that you mostly use in your cooking. Having fresh herbs in your kitchen or patio will give you the freshness you demand from your cooking and you can have a sense of accomplishment by cooking with your own ingredients as well. Especially herbs used in Cretan Cuisine like Basil or Oregano require minimum care and little space in order to supply you with the necessary quantity for cooking at home.

They can be also easily planted with seeds, or in the case of Basil you can also cut a small branch, leave it for some days in a glass full of water and then plant it in a small flower pot. Its free, its easy and you will have fresh aromatic herbs for your traditional Cretan food inspirations .

Cretan Cuisine Chania- Cretan traditional food restaurants chania- Restaurants in Platanias- Olive Tree
Cretan Cuisine Chania- Cretan traditional food restaurants chania- Restaurants in Platanias- Olive Tree

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