Shepherds feast in Zoniana Crete

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shepherd's feast in zonianaZoniana, a historical mountainous village in Central Crete, close to Anogia and Axos, has been associated lately with marihuana farming and other illegal activities.

However, Zoniana have much more to show and be proud of than the criminal activities of certain people; Zoniana boast the impressive Zoniana Cave (Sfendoni Cave) and the Wax Figure Museum.

The shepherd’s feast in Zoniana is an initiative of the locals who wish to denote their region and customs, and remind us that the Cretan hospitality is offered in abundance here as well.

huge cheece at shepherds feast in zonianaThe main occupation of Zoniana residents is agriculture, so the shepherd’s feast could not be organized in a more proper place.

The people of Zoniana organized in August 2009 a wonderful Cretan feast for the second time. They offered delicious foods to their guests and they impressed them by making a huge cheese, weighing 250kg.

The president of the Cultural Association in Zoniana, Mr. Dimitris Parassiris, said for the Shepherds Feast in Zoniana:

“We started with this feast in 2008 as something local and this year we are expanding it, aiming at organizing a pan-Cretan shepherd’s and cheese feast. It is time that we, the residents of Zoniana, spoke, because till now others were speaking instead of us. And we will be talking through exemplary acts of responsibility. The young residents of our village – members of the Association are determined to erase the negative fame created by a small group of locals.

all foods prepared by women from zoniana villageWe managed all this with the collaboration and dynamic presence of our men and women. Last year we had 20 pots in the main square so that all guests could see how we traditionally make kefalotyri cheese, gruyere, mizithra, rizogalo and ksinohondro, and everyone was impressed.

Our cheese is bigger and heavier this year, as it is more than 250kg.

Our buffet, as well as all the dishes offered, were prepared by the women of our village. We can say many things, but it would be better to show many pictures, because each one is a whole chapter of our life here”.

* Article based on a report by Giannis Kakkanos for the “Chaniotika Nea” newspaper

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  1. As I have been visiting Crete since 1994 regularly – at least once a year – I’m really glad to hear that there are people like these in Zoniana.
    My last year’s visit was not as pleasant. On my way to Zoniana and Anogia I was “greeted” by some young men with undoubtfully held up fingers. Just before arriving Zoniana a pick-up, driven by some teens – nearly skidded into my car. I didn’t stop in Zoniana because some other young guys showed the same gestures to me. I felt sorry for this beautiful village, which I had visited the year before on the way to the fantastic cave.
    I hope the people will be successful in erasing the negative fame. I really love Crete – especially Sfakia – and would really regret if this strong and beautiful island would fall into the hands of crime.

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