The carrier: The Agro-nutritional Cooperation of the Region of Crete

Crete, the birthplace of the “Mediterranean diet,” offers local products of exceptional quality such as cheese products, olive oil, honey, wine, seasonal plants, and wild edible greens (Greek “horta”). All these products shape the nutrient-dense Cretan diet, which is a lifestyle as well as an important factor that favours health and longevity. The authenticity and high quality of Cretan products are two characteristics that make them special.

The Agro-nutritional Cooperation of the Region of Crete was founded on March 2012 and is a non-profit organisation that aims at showcasing and promoting high-quality Cretan products. Its goal is to connect the primary production sector with the tourism and the food service industry. It is also an integral part of the “Agricultural Products Basket” business and strategic planning scheme of the Region of Crete. The main advantage of the association is its institutional role as it caters to farmers, processors, merchants, craftspeople, the local community, and the production sector, in general, by establishing and safeguarding relationships of trustworthiness and stability.

It is a private-public partnership that aims at showcasing renowned high-quality agricultural products and foods produced in the Region of Crete and promoting them nationally and globally.

Its members include agricultural cooperatives, producer groups, associations (chambers), collectives, and, mainly, private businesses, which geographically represent the Region of Crete. The products represented encompass the variety, uniqueness, and distinctiveness of this special, in all levels, geographical region.

It has created and registered the trademark “Crete – Land of Values.” It has also successfully contributed to showcasing traditional Cretan products with special characteristics and unique identity and has made them recognisable by consumers within Greece and abroad. The brand name (“Crete – Land of Values”) has been established and keeps getting stronger and stronger.

It showcases and promotes local gastronomy and the culture of the island. The label “cretan cuisine” has been created to designate and highlight eating establishments offering exceptional Cretan delicacies and warm Cretan hospitality. The primary goal is to turn the “cretan cuisine” trademark into a trusted label for consumers, and, connect the primary sector of the island with the tourism industry while providing added value to Crete and making it a top culinary destination for visitors.

The “cretan grocery” label designates retail stores that sell Cretan products and meet all required standards, thus giving consumers the chance to feel safe about their purchases while choosing high-quality and nutrient-dense products. These stores sell local products that bear the “Crete” seal, which further enhances their commercial identity. The “cretan grocery” label helps in highlighting and promoting retail stores as it serves as a guarantee of the origin and the quality of the products sold.

The “open wineries” label designates the wineries of the island that are open to visitors, within the framework of the scheme aiming at the promotion of Cretan gastronomy. Through the labeling of wineries, the Agro-nutritional Cooperation aims at the development of wine tourism on the island by promoting local wines and varieties.

The need to create the “cretan taste” label arose from our joint efforts to showcase the culinary heritage of the island while promoting local products to visitors. This label draws attention to the buffet corner in the restaurants of all-inclusive hotels. This buffet corner is designated for Cretan foods whose ingredients come from the Cretan land and whose recipes are local. The “cretan taste” label found on the buffets of hotels gives visitors the chance to experience a culinary journey over breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All recipes contain products produced by Cretan farmers and stockbreeders. Inspired by Cretan dishes and the values of the Cretan diet, they combine unique flavors and high nutrient content. They are a true part of the culinary wealth and the cultural tradition & heritage of the island.

“cretan brunch” label

“Dekatiano” is a light meal between breakfast and lunch. It must be healthy, nutritious, and easy to carry as it is usually eaten away from home. There is one image that comes to the minds of all Cretans, once they hear the phrase “dekatiano” (cretan brunch). This image is no other than a hard-working farmer, who goes to work to make some hard-earned money and leaves home before dawn with a small traditional Cretan bag, the “vourgia”, over his shoulder. This bag contains “paximadi” (a type of Cretan rusk), cheese, olives, and tomatoes. When the sun is up and beats down, it is time to take a break from all the hard work. “Dekatiano” is part of the culinary tradition of the island. This is the reason why “dekatiano” (brunch) options should take us back to the principles and core values of the Cretan diet. Guided by the passion for the healthy Cretan diet as well as the promotion of the products of the Cretan land, we created the “cretan brunch” label, which was also adapted to the needs of our time. “Dekatiano” is a light meal that captures the essence of Crete. Traditional “dekatiano” recipes include basic ingredients such as olive oil, vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and lettuce), graviera cheese, anthotyro cheese, traditional cured meats such as “apaki” (Cretan smoked meat) and “sygklino” (Cretan cured pork), paximadi and, olives.

It represents products that constitute the greatest part of the traditional agricultural products of Greece and have been labeled as P.D.O. or P.G.I. (olive oil, cheese products, wine).

Since its foundation, it has been very active in showcasing and promoting agricultural products within Greece and globally thus confirming its outward-looking approach. It has participated in national and international exhibitions, and trade missions and has also organized events, conferences, and festivals.

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