Magical Myzithra

People come to Crete just for its distinctive sweet cheese, myzithra (made from sheep’s or goat’s milk). Often hard to find elsewhere, it’s the key ingredient in restaurants’ myzithropitakia (sweet cheese pies) – crunchy, golden-brown triangles filled with the delicious cheese.

Myzithra is also used in kalitsounies, soft, circular breakfast pastries, their centres filled with the cheese and flecked with cinnamon. Find them at zaharoplasteia (sweet shops) and bakeries.

Local specialities use myzithra too. In the southwestern Sfakia area, the thin Sfakiani pita, filled with myzithra and topped with honey, is a dessert; however, travel just a bit further west, to Paleohora, and you will find your myzithropitakia will probably be made of the sour xynomyzithra, according to local custom. Whatever you do, don’t leave Crete without partaking in this unique and appetising treat.

-Text by Chris Deliso. Published in Lonely Planet Greece and Crete 2010.