Workshop - Restaurant "Cretan Gastronomy"
At 400m above sea level, Apano Archanes, frequently also simply referred to as Archanes, is a town of 5,000 residents at 16Km south of Heraklion, Crete. Located at the northeast boundary of a valley in Giouchtas Mountain, Archanes lies in a landscape carpeted in endless vineyards where the famous “rozaki” grape variety, mostly exported and consumed in Europe, grows. Raisins, wine, olive oil and cultivated dittany are also produced here.
Dimitris Mavrakis, a young chef who has learned the trade under such top- notch chefs as Alain Ducasse and Alessandro Miatelo, with courses on traditional Cretan cuisine, decided one day to move to Crete and settle with his wife Maria Chachlaki in the beautiful village of Archanes in order to implement – together with their team – all their knowledge and how-how on the island they come from.
Treasures from the wild flora of Crete, cooking traditions of his home land, vegetables that Dimitris himself grows, extra virgin olive oil from the Cretan land, herbs and wild greens; this is the backbone of Kritamon Restaurant, this is the driving gear of this workshop of modern Cretan Cuisine. Kritamon stands for sea fennel.
Dimitris produces his own home-made pasta, such as skioufichta (fresh pasta, a traditional Cretan recipe. The pasta dough is rolled out with the fingers and shaped with a “spiral” movement. That is how “skioufichta” get their shape but also their name from the word “skioufizo”, which in Cretan dialect means “twist”. The pieces of pasta, once rolled, have a hollow center), hilopites (wide egg noodles), maggiri (Cretan traditional fresh pasta like a noodle, cooked according to a delicious recipe. Read on!).
The dishes prepared by Dimitris Mavrakis range between traditional and creative Cretan cuisine. Here is what we singled out from the menu:
- Kritamon rustic salad (a medley of fava beans and barley with pickled kritamon).
- Almond salad (yogurt with almonds, a touch of lemon, verbena and mint).
- Green salad (wild aromatic greens and herbs from mount Giouchtas, fresh myzithra cheese with pomegranate and grape honey dressing).
- Fried anthotyro cheese (a slice of anthotyro cheese encased in sesame seeds, lightly fried in olive oil and served with carob-honey sauce).
- Maggiri (an exquisite pasta recipe. Thin rolled out pasta cut in square pieces – other boiled and other fried – mixed and served with meat broth and grazed anthotyro cheese).
- Rooster with aniseed, cinnamon and tomato-herb rice.
- Pork fillet with tomato sauce, sea fennel, caper served with potato and chestnut purée.
Any culinary desires? Well, you can rest assured that everything you are looking for is waiting for you in Kritamon. I’ll bet you on that!