Beef is the least popular meat type in Crete. This is because the island’s terrain is not really friendly to cows as it is mountainous and rocky in places. Therefore, the locals always had a preference for sheep and goats which were bred much easier due to their versatility; these animals climb much faster and easier than cows. It should be noted that Cretans always had oxen used for agricultural works such as land mowing. In recent decades Cretans hve started breeding cows with impressive culinary results, as the available nutrition and clime on Crete is ideal for the production of good quality meat. Therefore, it is highly advisable to try Cretan beef although its availability is always limited and can usually be bought at specialized butchery shops in Crete.
Beef is mainly eaten as a stew in tomato sauce (“kokkinisto“), lemon sauce (“lemonato“) or combined with onions (“stifado“). It can also be combined with risonni pasta and red sauce (“giouvetsi“) or with pasta. Succulent beef steaks on the barbecue are also popular.