Crete is one of the special wine-producing areas in Greece. It has been known in the west for this very attribute. Crete’s climatic and geological conditions give the island the opportunity to make a name for itself as a wine producing area both in Greece and abroad. Apart from olive oil, wine can constitute an important export product in turn. Besides, the oldest wine-press / wine-factory in the world, dating back to the end of the Minoan period, was discovered in Crete or Candia in the region of Archanes. According to Sir Arthur Evans who carried out excavations in Crete, it was the time when Cree first started producing wine (after a beer tradition). All this is also corroborated by the deciphering of the Linear B Writing of the Mycenaean era, which confirms the existence of vine arbors in Crete at the time. Moreover, Crete constituted a bridge between the East and the West as far as viticulture is concerned. The route followed was Caucasus – Syria – Palestine – Egypt, and the Minoan navigators of Crete transported the wine to the rest of Greece and to the southern shores of Italy. Today, there are more than 20 varieties of Greek grapes in Crete, among which are the red and white varieties.
DENTROLIVANO Called rosemary, its’ Latin name is Rosmarinus officiualis, and belongs to
the family of Labiatae. It is an evergreen plant, bushy of dark green color, with dense, very thin, lance-shaped leaves and a very pleasant scent. It is self-sown, grows all over Crete and has been known in Greece since antiquity. It can be used fresh or dry, in sauces made for seafood and fish, and as a beverage. Also used in the pharmaceutical industry as it has healing properties (weakness, insomnia, indigestion, alopecia, hysteria, cellulite).
SAGE (FASKOMILO) It is a self-sown bush, with lance-shaped, saw-like, leaves, which have
an ashen- green color and strong scent. It flowers at the end of spring and its flowers are whitish and cluster-shaped. The word itself (sfakos + milea) is of ancient origin. It is mainly used as a beverage, either alone or with malotira and dittany. When cooking braised meat, red sauces or vegetable dishes, add only 1-2 leaves of sage because it has a very strong flavor.
It mainly is a pharmaceutical herb and warming beverage. By distilling it, you can make an essential oil useful in pharmaceuticals and soap making.
DITTANY (DIKTAMO or EROTAS)
The ancient Greeks named it “artemidion”, since it was Artemis’ gift to them, to cure the wounds that she sometimes carelessly made with her arrows. It is one of the most important healing
herbs of antiquity – the plant was named “diktamnon” of the Dikti mountains – since it was considered to be a cure for most illnesses. The words diktamo
or erontas, stamatohorto, livanohorto and many other synonyms are used to name this rare aromatic plant that only grows in Crete, usually at great heights and on steep cliffs. It is a perennial, self-sown moss and has three varieties, according to the size of its
leaves: narrow-leafed, broad-leafed and mediumleafed. Used as a beverage, either alone or with sage and malotira. Two or three leaves are enough for one cup; any more would make the beverage slightly bitter. It is a toning and refreshing beverage, ideal for cold winter nights. It has toning, stimulating and healing properties. Erotas is used to make a stimulating drink. Put 30 gr. of this herb in 1 liter of white wine, soak it for 2 weeks, and drink one water glass of the mixture daily, for 1 week. Avoid long-standing use. Pregnant women should not use it since it has abortive properties.
MALOTIRA Malotira or Malothira is mossy, bushy and brushwood-like plant that grows in mountain areas. You can drink it as a beverage on its own with honey or
combined with other herbs (sage, dittany).
LOUISA Louisa with the characteristic smell of lemon. The plant comes from America but has completely acclimatized in Greece. It is a bush that can also grow to a small tree depending on how it is pruned; it sheds its leaves in the winter. The flowers grow in bunches, sometimes to the top of the plant. The gathering of the leaves, sprouts, and flowers is done in the summer. All parts of the plant are used in healing. You can make a beverage from the leaves (10-20 gr. to a liter of water), which is toning, a remedy for fever, soothes the bronchial tube and the nasal passages, good for perspiring, can be used as diuretic, helps stop diarrhea
and bleeding. Used as a poultice it is good for pains in the nerves, headaches and for pain in the ears. The oil is used by industry in several ways (perfumery, confectionery, distillery etc.).