Cretan diet lies at the centre of high-quality Mediterranean cuisine, recognized by the international scientific community as the most respective and qualitative example of the Mediterranean diet. In Greek antiquity, diet meant ‘a way of living’, specifically, "a way of living with good health, enjoyment and consideration for the natural world". The same society gave us the word gastronomy, "the art and knowledge involved in preparing and eating good food". Millennia later, these words acquire an extra value in Cretan tradition.
The gastronomical legacy of Cretans starts from the Prehistoric times, characterized as one of the oldest and most palatable culinary traditions in the world. A tradition of flavors, smells and local ingredients, which means that Cretans eat plenty of home-grown vegetables, herbs, pulses and fruit as grapes, and oranges. Also a large variety of cheeses, especially Cretan graviera, athotiro and mizithra, are fundamental to the Cretan diet along with local products such as yoghurt and honey. Cretans, also consume large amounts of fishes and olive oil in abundance. The essence of their diet was abundant amounts of antioxidants, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins E and C. Olive oil is the basis of the Cretan and Greek diet, having enormous nutritional value as it is probably the most powerful antioxidant in nature.
The connection between modern Crete and the tremendous Minoan civilization has been comparatively done to many fields and one of these is gastronomy. Information which came from excavation finds on many Cretan archaeological sites, proved the trade relationships and of course the climate - geological conditions of the island. In 2012, a small group of archaeologists, potters, and cooks in the Lassithi prefecture began preparing meals based on the Minoan culture, circa 2700 to 1450 BC. Many recipes were made as lamb braised in enormous earthenware pots over wood fires, wild asparagus and olives plucked from nearby trees and cured in salt.
Dakos, fried snails, Cretan Cheese Pies, Lamb with stamnagathi, Gamopilafo, Mountain Bulbs, Smoked Pork and Sfakia pies are some of the most famous and distinctive Cretan local recipes. Last but not least, the famous raki or tsikoudia, distilled from grapes, is the local version of tsipouro which concludes all the above tastes.