The vineyards of Minoa Pediados (Plain) are the most beautiful garden of the region and probably the richest one. Apart from the grapes and wine, this Plain gives not only its inhabitants but also all the world the famous Cretan Raki or Tsikoudia.
The Raki has the must as its raw material, made from grapes, seeds, stems and grape-peels, kwown as “stemfyla” or :strafyla”. This is the mass that remains after the compression of grapes pulp for the production of wine. The raki is a single distillation drink, unlike ouzo and tsipouro. The traditional distillation process, as you can see it nowadays, takes place in distilleries called “rakokazana”. The custom of “rakokazana” was instituted by Eleftherios Venizelos in 1920, when licenses for distilleries were given to Cretan farmers.
But except for being an extra income for each family the “rakokazano” is primarily a social event, an occasion for festivities and singing. Around it you can find from two people to one hundred people. Local traditional products are offered on the table of each of these distilleries either as appetizers or as a main course. Mantinades (Cretan folk limericks and songs), dance, amateur musicians are the best part of the evening with the accompanying blessings. Visit the villages of the Municipality of Minoa Pediados in November and it is almost certain that someone will invite you to this celebration at the distilleries.