Pork

Apart from lamb, pork is the other type of red meat widely consumed in Crete. For similar reasons as with lamb (i.e., proximity to the sea and plenty of healthy nutrition for the pigs), the quality of pork meat in Crete is exceptional. In the past almost every family in Cretan villages was breeding a pig (can be bred in fairly limited space) every year especially for the Christmas festive season. Part of the animal was consumed fresh while part of it was cured. Curing the meat was an effective way of preserving it for consumption the rest of the year. Out of this process some great delicacies emerged such as the famous “apaki” (speciality of central Crete), which is pork smoked with sage leaves and preserved in vinegar. Another great delicacy is the “siglino” (similar to apaki) and the Cretan sausage made of pork preserved in vinegar.

In Crete, apart from the cured pork specialities mentioned above, one can enjoy pork in various forms, such as barbecued, on the spit (“souvlisto gourounopoulo”) or in a stew. Cretan char grilled pork chops are a must try. It is not surprising that Cretans make pork stews with wild bitter greens, thereby creating a healthier dish. Pork is rich in protein and vitamins of the B family and its fat can be trimmed. As with lamb, pork can be a good supplement to a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.