THE CRETAN BISCUIT - PAXIMADI

 

The rusk was created due to the need mostly of the stock farmers to consume bread that had to be sustained in good condition and be tasty and nutritional at the same time, bearing in mind these men would be away from home for long periods of time. As Crete is mountainous, and itís not easy to grow wheat, so barley has long been the principal grain. Due to its particularly good taste and the great variety that was created over the years. Since Byzantine times, people have been making barley bread and slicing it and re-baking it in a slow oven so it hardens and keeps for months. This is a staple food of Crete and very healthy because it has a lot of fibre and is the traditional Cretan way of preserving bread. The elders recall that the old Cretans used to dip a barley rusk in their wine every morning, before they set off for work in the fields for the day.†

 

Today these biscuits come in many different kinds and shapes. There are the barley and the rye biscuits, made of at least 85% pure barley and rye flour respectively, which are most peopleís favourites.

 

There are the classic biscuits, biscuits that come in rings or half-rings, and biscuits in bite-size pieces that make a perfect snack. The latter are the base for a very tasty appetiser known as 'tako' or 'dakos'. You will see it quite often in Crete (as well as other places in Greece), and it is so nutritious that it can even substitute a meal. To make it, you simply dip a biscuit in water so it gets softer, put a little olive oil on top, cover it with a chopped tomato and some feta cheese, and sprinkle it with oregano and salt.

Variety of rusk - country-style, barley-made, seven-blended, wheaten, rye-made and sweet rusks.

 

Biscuits are a good snack by themselves, but they can also be dipped in tea or coffee, or eaten with feta cheese and olives or with just about anything else. They taste great, cost little and are completely nutritious. 

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