ΨωμίForeign travellers on Crete in the 19th, and the beginning of the 20th century, were very disappointed with the kind of bread they were served. It was dark brown and rather not to their taste, being rich in bran. However, English Robert Pashley (1834) was an exception. As a matter of fact, he was impressed by the black loaf of bread that was made by the monks of Crete. It was made from wheat, barley, and rye. It took many years, and volumes of research to vindicate the Cretans' way of making bread. Cretans were on the right track once more!

The fibres contained in the traditional Cretan bread boost the good operation of the intestines, particularly of the large. Whole grain bread is rich in vitamins, particularly of the B complex, indispensable for the proper functioning of the nervous system. In addition, it is said that the whole grain bread possibly prevents cancer of the gastro-intestinal tube, particularly of the large intestine! Until the last few decades Cretans consumed brown bread, while white bread (without bran) was consumed only five or six times a year, at Christmas, Easter, during the religious festivities on August 15, and at social events (weddings).

Having been introduced in the European Community, the Cretan hard-bread swept the markets owing to its quality. Hard-bread is produced also in other regions of the world, but the Cretan product is distinguished for its high nutritional value since it is made completely from natural ingredients.

In Crete you will find large, doughnut-shaped hard bread rolls, usually pre-sliced horizontally in half. You can find them in all good restaurants and are served in one-half slices as follows: a moderate amount of pure olive oil is poured on each slice, then fresh tomato is ground over it with the juice soaking in and thus softening the sliced roll. This is topped with "feta" or soft-cheese and seasoned with favourite herb trimmings. The whole idea is a delicious combination of natural and tasty products!