More and more people nowadays strive towards a healthier way of life and want to know precisely what they are eating and the origins of their food.
It has been scientifically proven that the Cretan diet is one of the healthiest in the world and when travellers visit our wonderful island, they want to taste this famous cuisine and enjoy traditional products like olive oil, Horta (wild greens), herbs, oranges, cheeses, rusks, thyme honey and fresh local fish.
The Cretan Diet
In 1960, health and nutrition scientists set the standards for the Mediterranean Diet based on the Cretan Dietary Pattern.
The relationship between the Cretan diet and health became widely known with the "Seven Countries Study" that showed impressively low mortality and cardiovascular disease rates. Comparisons of the observed populations showed that Crete was by far the healthiest with the lowest mortality rates attributed to coronary disease and cancer. The results of the study suggest that individuals who adopt the dietary patterns observed on Crete demonstrate reduced risks against several chronic diseases.
The Cretan Dietary Pattern
The pattern refers to the consumption of specific foods, the eating habits and the cooking customs which are the essence of a particular lifestyle, coupled with physical activity. The key elements of the traditional Cretan diet are:
* the requirement for a closer relationship with nature
* regular physical exercise and activity
* simple and frugal meals (moderate is the rule)
* use of the pure, natural and highly nutritional indigenous products of Crete
* tasty cuisine
* specific combinations and proportions of food with an emphasis on vegetables and other greens
Why is Cretan food so good?
The answer is because it is homemade, it is what the people eat every day and it is from the land around so is the best nature can make it. On the arid south of the island, the greens have much more taste than in the fertile north. The reason for this is thought to be a combination of the struggle for survival the plant has to go through and the semi-salted irrigation water. Local products are reasonably priced and readily available so your purchases are helping the sustainability of local societies.
How does this relate to the Mistral?
Many of our guests stress that one of the highlights of the Mistral experience is the homemade food. We believe in the principles and are members of the Slow Food Movement and our philosophy has two main components. We stick to traditional dishes as much as possible and use as many fresh vegetables and raw foods as we can.
Our vegetable garden provides part of what we need; tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, greens, dill, mint, eggs, lettuce, some chicken and rabbit meat. Anything extra such as goats cheese, honey and bread is sourced from local farmers.
The Mistral has applied for a Cretan Quality Agreement Certificate which aims to preserve and promote the Cretan diet and to create a Quality Label for establishments offering Cretan Cuisine.
A selection of dishes served regularly at the Mistral:
Yiouvetsi: goat or veal meat cooked in the oven with tomato sauce and olive oil
Artichokes: with broad beans in lemon sauce
Horta and vegetable dishes: served with olive oil and lemon juice
Fava: yellow lentils mashed and served with onion, lemon and olive oil
Papoutsakia (small shoes): oven roast aubergines in olive oil and tomato sauce stuffed with vegetables
Octopus: with green olives casserole
Gemista: stuffed tomatoes and peppers
Cuttlefish: with dill and green olives
Dakos: Cretan rusk with tomato, goats cheese, oregano and olives
Boureki: A dish unique to Chania with layers of potatoes, courgettes, goats cheese and pastry
Snails: casserole or fried with vinegar and rosemary
Rooster: casserole with potatoes
Kalitsounia: small pies filled with cheese and seasonal greens
Marathopites: dill pies
Vegetable briam: mixed vegetables cooked in the oven with a rich tomato sauce
Breakfast at the Mistral is a cold continental style buffet which includes a selection of seasonal fruits, cereals, boiled local eggs, fresh bread, bread sticks, local thyme honey, winter heather honey and local fresh Greek yoghurt.
Traditional breakfast cuisine includes Myzithra (goat's) cheese, Cretan Gruyere, Greek Feta, fresh Cretan tomatoes, black and green olives and the famous Cretan Dakos (wholegrain barley rusk with tomato, olive oil and Myzithra cheese).
Everyday, we bake Cretan "Lychnarakia" (sweet myzithra cheese) and filo pastry apple pies.
Mama Katerina uses fruit from our gardens to make home-made Bergamot jam and Orange marmalade and there is also strawberry and apricot jam, dried fruits of Greek figs and white raisins from Crete and the famous Korinthian black raisins.
A cooked item or sweet is provided for breakfast each day. On Sunday there are fried eggs with bacon or Cretan smoked pork "Apaki". On other days, perhaps scrambled egg or plain omelet with oregano. Occasionally, we have Loukoumades (honey puffs) or tiganites (fried dough) with different fillings and traditional home-made Sfakia pies with thyme honey.
There is a good selection of tea including the famous Cretan herbal mountain tea (Malotira) with Thyme or Heather honey. Enjoy a freshly made filter coffee with various local biscuits or a stick of Pasteli (sesame seeds with honey). Fresh squeezed orange juice and grapefruit juice is also available.