First Night Design | Healthiest Diet in the Mediterranean

In the mid-1990s, after a delightful holiday in Crete with a dear friend, she and I decided we wanted to buy a bolt-hole on the island. I planned to spend half the year in Crete to give my health (or lack of it) the warmth it desperately needed.

At the Going Down of the Sun 
At the Going Down of the Sun (coastline, Chania, Crete)

But life, as John Lennon and others before him said, has a way of happening when you’re making other plans and we never did buy that bolt-hole.

Lighthouse in the Mist Post Cards
(Chania) Lighthouse in the Mist

Cut to September 2008 and Mr FND and I went on our first proper holiday after thirteen years together, prompted by my having four TIAs (mini strokes) in the May. We knew we had to change our lives and a holiday was a priority.
We settled on Chania and the rest is history. I think that even before we got on the plane at Gatwick, we knew we would move to this glorious island permanently. It may, at this time in history, be part of Greece, but there is something different about the island and an atmosphere that is quite unlike the mainland.

Lighthouse in Chania iPad Mini Cover
Lighthouse in Chania iPad Mini Cover


© Sarah Vernon

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Crete has the healthiest diet in the Mediterranean. The island has the agriculture, the chefs and the recipes to make your stomach and your doctor very happy! The tavernas and cafés in the tourist areas of Chania, the nearest city to the village of Chorafakia — primarily round the Venetian Harbour — are, alas, not the place to find great Greek or Cretan food but venture into the cobbled streets of the Old Town or up into the mountains and you will often find places to eat that can fulfill your every Cretan dream.

We’ve probably all heard of Moussaka and Tzatziki but unless you are partly or wholly Greek or have spent many years having Greek holidays, you may not have heard of many of the staple mezes or snacks. One such are Dakos, which originated in Chania.  These are barley rusks (twice-baked bread) topped with fresh tomatoes, feta or mizithra cheese, olive oil and oregano. Simple but delicious … and healthy!

Details of how to create Dakos at home can be found at Maria Verivaki’s blog, Organically Greek. She writes:

‘This is the healthiest salad snack you can imagine. It has been immortalised all over Greece and is famous for its Hania origins. It is served in practically every single restaurant, taverna, café or kafeneio in the province. It is extremely easy to make. I don’t know why it’s called dackos (or dakos, or dako for that matter); the same name is also used for the troublesome fly that infests olives and ruins olive trees.’

Scorched Earth Greeting Card
Scorched Earth Greeting Card (Chania’s Venetian Harbour)

Take care and keep laughing!


32 thoughts on “First Night Design | Healthiest Diet in the Mediterranean

      1. They are from Iraklion. We got the royal treatment! We stayed with them for a week and went to places I’m sure tourists don’t go. Lots of sustainable food and the MOST amazing lamb chops ever! Even better than my mom’s. Nice, crispy and cooked. Here in the U.S. they are too rare.


    1. Forget what’s sold in the UK! There are so many different types and some of them melt in the mouth. Yes, there’s nothing like a good Greek salad. Where we live, what we call Greek Salad, they call it a Country Salad.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Never been to Crete but did do the island hopping holiday when I was a student, loved it, you really can’t beat the Mediterranean whether it’s for the weather the scenery or the food, it’s all so good for you! have a lovely Mediterranean day Sarah!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fascinating facts for Greek food, Sarah. Now the ham sandwich I had for lunch seems sadly lacking. LOL. 😀
    Odd tidbit here — when I lived in Albuquerque, I was amazed by how many Greek restaurants were there. Or it seemed rather strange to me at least. (shrugs…) Great big hug!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OH wow when I saw your comment I had to get over here and look to see what I can get my mother for her birthday! She loves the bag I bought last year. I’m going over to your store now do you have any suggestions?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember my week on Crete with such pleasure. The food was wonderful. This was many years ago. My friend and I made large sand sculptures on the beach. A great way to meet people. We went into the mountains and had the best meal of our entire Grecian escapade. You’re right, it has a different feel than the mainland. You’re very lucky to live there. I try to recreate those lovely meals whenever I can–so thanks for the Dakos link!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I adore Greek food, I spent part of my childhood on the Greek island of Cyprus, and got married on Kalymnos. In fact, there’s not much about Greece that I don’t like!

    Liked by 1 person

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