Gamos means wedding in Greek and pilafi is risotto, so, you understand that this rice dish is offered at traditional Cretan weddings. But you can find it nowadays in many Cretan taverns.
The rice symbolizes the deep roots of the marriage, the fertility of the couple and the wish that their common life will be filled with goods. The presence of rice in weddings is a custom whose roots go back in ancient Greece. Nowadays people all over the world throw rice to the couple as they leave from the church or the Town Hall.
The gamopilafo was firstly made in West Crete, and through the years it became the most known traditional dish for the whole island! It was always made by men not women according to tradition. Every family had a man “expert” that specialized in the making of gamopilafo and was in charge of the whole procedure.
The men of the family and his male friends with the help from the “expert” would begin making the dish by bringing from their houses the big Kazania (huge kitchen pots) in which they would boil the meat and keep the broth. In Cretan weddings there are always goats and lambs and roosters and chickens that have firstly been boiled for several hours (4-6). In this meat broth with added lemon juice you boil the rice slowly in medium heat. Then you add stakovoutiro, the butter from the creamy skin that is formed on the top of boiled fresh goat’s milk. This is what defines gamopilafo; it makes all the difference in the world. It was and still is a male thing to do because after making the dish those huge and heavy pots must be washed clean!