Gastronomy – local products
The land endowed Psiloritis with peaks, plateaus, meadows, and plains. The coexistence of the mountains with the sea, as well as the temperate climate, offers the conditions for fertility, abundance and variety in the cultivation and production of goods. The horn of the mythical goat Amalthea, who fed Zeus on the top of the mountain, continues to offer all kinds of goods, from fruits, vegetables, greens and nuts to dairy and animal products of high quality.
The means of production remain largely unchanged through time, while maintaining the specifications and certifications of modern nutritional requirements. The livestock activities from modern small-scale businesses to mitata follow the tradition, maintaining a dominant and timeless element of the culture of Psiloritis.
Events – festivals – traditions
Feasts are important life events for the inhabitants, and a way of consolidating and expressing their culture. For many shepherds’ families, the celebrations organised between May and July are reasons to feast, like the characteristic shearing of the sheep. Relatives, friends, and guests are invited to gather and taste roast lamb (ofto or antikristo), traditional dishes, wine and tsikoudia. The festivities are completed with music, singing and dancing, with traditional Cretan instruments: the lyra (a pear-shaped string instrument), the askomantoura (bag pipe) and the laouto (a type of lute).
Other excuses for celebration are the weddings that take place mainly in the summer, in the centre of the villages. There are also celebrations defined by the religious calendar, like:
In the villages of Psiloritis you can find traditional arts and small-scale handicraft activities. The area provides the materials, like wool, wood, and clay soil. With dedication and patience, the villagers process them to use them in weaving, wood carving and pottery.
In Anogia, Axos and other villages of the area, a few looms and woodworking workshops still survive and preserve the tradition today.
The unique themes and styles of the xobliasta (decorated) textiles narrate stories from people’s lives and are inspired by nature and tradition. Often, they have floral and geometric motifs, the most characteristic being the rhombus in successive bands. Hand-woven textiles like patanias, (wall hangings), hirami (thin blankets), towels and the famous vouryies (woven traditional bags) are just some of the handcrafts produced here.