The core of cretan cuisine consists of food from natural sources whereas that of animal origin has a peripheral character. By and large, people used to consume seasonal produce, available in the wider area, undergone little or no process. Traditional cuisine was widespread on the island up until the 1960s when with the improvement of living standards food started taking a shift towards meat and other animal produce.
Fresh and dried fruit, legumes, endemic wild herbs and plants as well as unprocessed cereal favoured by the climate were consumed in high quantities and made up the base of cretan cuisine during that period. Dairy products were consumed daily in low or moderate quantities. Poultry and fish were also consumed weekly whereas red meat was prepared only a few times per month. The main fat source and supply was olive oil, used not only on salads but also in every day cooking, contrary to what people in northern Europe used to do, which was the use of animal fat.
Another main feature of the Cretan cuisine was the limited use of alcohol, mainly red wine, which accompanied meals. Finally, as a dessert, fresh fruit was the most common and the traditional honey based dough was also present on the table several times a week.