Cypriots love their food – and you will too, once you’ve tried the gourmet delights that this enchanting island has to offer! The cuisine of Cyprus is based on the island’s abundant fresh produce, often flavoured with local herbs, lemon and olive oil. The Cypriot love affair with food is apparent everywhere you go on the island, whether you’re at a village bakery or a fancy city restaurant. These are some of the tempting treats that await – so why not book your holiday now, and discover for yourself just why Cyprus is a foodie’s dream!
Aaah, the meze! This is considered by many to be the high point of Cypriot culinary traditions – and what a tradition it is! Choose a full meze, and you will be greeted by an apparently endless parade of exquisite small dishes: remember to take it slowly, or you’ll end up too full to enjoy everything! First up are dishes of plump olives, all kinds of dips and fresh salads. Then come lots of different cheeses, a range of vegetables and fresh bread. After this, brace yourself for the pièce de résistance – huge platters of meat or fish (depending on which meze you choose). If you’ve gone for meat, you might be offered roast lamb or pork, delicately spiced meatballs, or different kinds of sausages. And a fish meze might include octopus and squid, perhaps some grilled sea bass and fresh prawns. To finish up, you’ll have a dazzling range of desserts, from the scrumptious sugar-dusted loukoumades, to the sticky honey-and-nut pastries baklava.
Snacks and street food
Nothing, no one and nowhere in Cyprus is untouched by the local devotion to food. Locals will spend hours discussing where to buy the best bread, which baker makes the best pies, and where to find the best cheeses. As a result, even the snacks in Cyprus are delicious – think hot-from-the-oven cheese pies, or fresh souvlaki in warm pitta bread with a mint-scented yogurt sauce.
You’ll have tried some Cypriot classics elsewhere, no doubt, but try them at a traditional tavern on the island and you’ll swoon! These include dishes like moussaka, layers of aubergine and meat with a béchamel sauce that are baked in the oven in a ceramic pot. Another is kleftiko, which is roast lamb that is cooked very slowly in the oven with lemon juice and herbs. Or you could try the stifado, a rich rabbit or beef stew made with wine and oregano.
Cakes and pastries
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll love Cyprus. You can salivate over the wonderful displays in local patisseries, which are piled high with gorgeous creations. These might include flaouna, a sweet cheese-filled pastry which is filled with raisins or topped with sesame seeds. Or the scrumptious Cypriot answer to donuts, loukoumades, fried dough balls which are light as air. Then there are pishies, pastries dipped in syrup, and baklava, filo pastry parcels with honey and nuts. Or you could go for muhallebi, a creamy pudding lightly flavoured with rose water and cinnamon. Yum!