10 traditional Greek desserts and sweets to try in Crete
From syrup-drenched cakes to chewy cinnamon cookies, Greece’s vibrant and multicultural history has resulted in a plethora of tempting sweet treats!
- Bougatsa | Perhaps the most famous Greek dessert, bougatsa is technically a breakfast dish and is thought to have originated in the Greek community of Constantinople. The pastries are made from filo dough which is wrapped around a sweet custard filling and then served with icing sugar and/or cinnamon.
- Sfakianopita | This Cretan speciality is made of a soft, cheese-filled dough which is then fried and topped with honey, nuts and cinnamon. The final product resembles a pancake, and comes from the mountainous Sfakia region in southwest Crete, where honey and milk are the most common local products.
- Halva | Anyone who’s ever eaten in a traditional Greek taverna has probably shared a small plate of halva with their after-dinner coffee. Halva is either made with tahini (sesame) or semolina, and is particularly popular during Lent.
- Melomakarona | If you’re lucky enough to be in Greece around Christmas, you’ll see tables piled high with melomakarona and kourabiedes in bakeries across the country! Melomakarona are small biscuits made with flour, olive oil, honey and cinnamon and immersed in syrup, whilst kourabiedes are similar to shortbread but flavoured with almonds and/or brandy and dusted with a heavy coating of snowy white icing sugar!
- Portokalopita | This gorgeous orange cake comes in all shapes and sizes, but is remarkable for its sweet, fruity flavour and moist sponge.
- Galaktoboureko | An absolute family favourite, galaktoboureko is a delicious dessert of creamy custard in filo, sometimes flavoured with lemon, orange or rose.
- Kataifi | A crispy, moist sweet similar to baklava and found across Greece and Turkey, as well as a number of Middle Eastern countries. It is made with chopped nuts, cloves and cinnamon, all wrapped into a buttery kataifi dough and drenched in syrup.
- Loukoumades | A trip to any Greek town is sure to bring a visit to the local loukoumades shop! These small doughnuts are freshly fried and served covered in syrup, honey, cinnamon or chocolate syrup, and are loved by young and old alike.
- Ekmek Kataifi | Dating from the time of the Ottoman Empire, this bread pudding-style dessert involves layers of kataifi dough bathed in lemon syrup and topped with a thick custard, whipped cream, cinnamon and pistachios.
- Ravani | A fluffy and moist semolina sponge cake with flavours of coconut and orange. Like most Greek sweets, the cake is drenched on syrup, resulting in a rich, buttery and highly addictive treat!
Guests of Candia Park village are treated to a range of traditional sweets every day at the Agapi Main restaurant and To Fili Taverna, where young and old are sure to discover new favourites!