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‘Caprico’ is the male pork meat that we bake in the oven with a specific process with small variations from place to place and from house to house. A recipe we find in Crete, mainly in the Heraklion area, from those times when the pig was brought home with other animals. The most well-known custom in Crete and all over Greece with pork is the Christmas carcasses. ‘Caprico’ is easy to manufacture and relies on all the Cretan diet for good raw material.‘Caprico’ is the male pork meat that we bake in the oven with a specific process with small variations from place to place and from house to house. A recipe we find in Crete, mainly in the Heraklion area, from those times when the pig was brought home with other animals. The most well-known custom in Crete and all over Greece with pork is the Christmas carcasses. ‘Caprico’ is easy to manufacture and relies on all the Cretan diet for good raw material.

In the village of Galatas, Heraklion, the local cultural association has established the "Caprico feast" on the first weekend of July. Galata's caprico was awarded the "Golden Distinction" award at the 1st Cretan Home Kitchen Festival ".In the village of Galatas, Heraklion, the local cultural association has established the "Caprico feast" on the first weekend of July. Galata's caprico was awarded the "Golden Distinction" award at the 1st Cretan Home Kitchen Festival ".At the Agia Marina Festival in Voni, Heraklion, which is one of the biggest festivals that take place in the heart of summer in Crete, the appetizer which is offered to the traditional holidaymakers is caprico.Thousands of pilgrims gather from all over the island on the eve of the celebration.Festive images in all their glory! From the village to the monastery, the road on both sides is flooded with hundreds of "worshipers" who sell all sorts of produce from toys for children, candles, religious icons, candlesticks for pilgrims to carpets, dried flowers and caprico.Young people form their own groups and honor the feast and receive the grace of the Saint, preferring the traditional way of travel; walking.Of course, in other times when there were no vehicles, pilgrims went with donkeys and mules in groups.With colorful fabrics they covered the animal's bodies and carried white bread into the church.It was back in the time when people met on the street and greeted and wished each other, without knowing them, "Many happy returns and the time to return to her Grace", and is a stark contrast to today's busy, nervous, anxious drivers trying to reach their destination as quickly as possible.From the Lassithi Plateau, from the northern and eastern plains, from the upper Mesara and from the villages of Heraklion, they used to sleep in the vineyards or in the surrounding fields and leave after church to return to their homes.Small cafes and fast-food restaurants are set up to serve the pilgrims, while the traditional bakery served many people. As caprico was a dry meat it could be easily transported. Pilgrims from faraway places took it with them and ate it on the journey in the street in groups to save time and so they were able to return to their villages.One of my favorite stops was next to the Aposelemis springs, a 3-4 hour walk from Voni, near the walled settlement, where the caprico was enjoyed along with wine.Let's go and enjoy one of the traditional recipes.

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Ingredients:
2 kg of pork belly in chunks.
Coarse salt
Lemon leaves
Fresh oregano

Method:
Ask your butcher to cut the pork meat into chunks of about 10cm.
Wash the meat and allow to dry. Salt enough and leave for about 3 hours.
Place, as much as you can, the fat on the outside of the pork on the sides of the pan - a secret I learned to become softer on the inside. Bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees for about 2.5 hours. Some recipes say that we add water to the pan. I would say that it is not necessary as the meat gives off enough liquids to cook. Sometimes you may even need to empty the pan when it is finished cooking.
Wash the lemon leaves and let them dry on a towel.
When our meat is ready and dried, remove from the oven and immediately add a little oregano and cover with lemon leaves. Close the pan with foil and leave for about 20 minutes. With the heat the lemon leaves will give off the aromas and oils and flavor the meat.
Eaten hot or cold, it is an excellent appetizer.

Good luck!!!

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I’d like to thank the journalist-folklorist Leonidas Koudoumogiannakis for the information on the Agia Marina festival in Voni and for the photographic material and also Stephanos Rapanis, photographer, for his excellent work.I’d like to thank the journalist-folklorist Leonidas Koudoumogiannakis for the information on the Agia Marina festival in Voni and for the photographic material and also Stephanos Rapanis, photographer, for his excellent work.