Staka / athogalo

Staka and athogalo resemble cheese but they are rather something between cheese and yoghurt. They are very Cretan dairy product made of sheep milk’s skin and are calorie rich. After collecting the milk and putting it in receptacles, the milk skin is produced through natural warming (sun is always there!) or artificial warming and lightly salted. This first product is called “athogalo” and is eaten mainly as spread at breakfast or acting as starter. After sufficient quantity of athogalo is collected, it is warmed in low fire and a bit of flour is added to separate proteins from fats. The resulting thick white substance (proteins) is “staka” and is eaten as spread (like athogalo) or accompanies other dishes such as fried eggs, rice or pasta. The fats of this process are also collected, being the well known staka butter (“stakovoutiro”) which is used (always in small amounts) in the cooking of some festive dishes and sweets. This type of food is very tasteful and a great source of energy, needed before the intense manual work in the Cretan mountains.