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Capturing the Gastronomic Spirit of Cyprus

With its enviable geographic location, diverse landscape and wide range of climates, Cyprus has both the resources and the heritage to produce one of the most fresh, fragrant and dynamic…

With its enviable geographic location, diverse landscape and wide range of climates, Cyprus has both the resources and the heritage to produce one of the most fresh, fragrant and dynamic cuisines in the world. Its position in the Mediterranean has brought a range of culinary influences to its shores, principally from Greece, but also from Turkey and the Middle East, though the people of Cyprus also continue to use traditional and entirely indigenous recipes today.

Here are some of the quintessential dishes to try on your foray into the flavours of this exciting epicurean realm;

Meze

This showcase of punchy Cypriot flavours is best enjoyed in the evening with a large glass of chilled local wine, and in good company. A selection of dishes might incorporate Koupepia (stuffed vine leaves), fried octopus or squid, talattouri (like the Turkish Cacik, a yoghurt, mint and cucumber dip), olives, hummus and lamb, with plenty of warmed pitta bread for dipping.

meze first choice

Pastelaki

For a sweet little treat, this nut brittle is ubiquitous, and can be found in most supermarkets and grocery stores. Simply made from the honey of the Carob tree with peanuts, almonds and sesame seeds, it’s the perfect souvenir to bring a taste of Cyprus home to nibble on.

Halloumi

This native cheese is made from a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk, and has a similar appearance to mozzarella, but is saltier. Enjoy in a simple salad, or grilled as part of a kebab, and bring some new recipes home with which to delight your vegetarian friends.

halloumi first choice

Coffee

Similarly to the Turkish tradition of serving coffee, Cypriot coffee is brewed in a small pot, and sugar is added to the mix before heating. Once vigorously boiled, a froth appears on the top, and the final product is served with a glass of water, for cleansing the palate in anticipation of flavour fireworks.

Souvlaki

A delicious snack, this grilled fast food originating in Greece is simply skewered shards of meat, usually pork, served in warmed pitta bread with tomato and cucumber salad. The ultimate appetite appeaser, souvlaki can be bought almost everywhere in Cyprus.

Wine

As one of the most seasoned winemaking countries in the world, it is thought that wine has been produced on Cyprus for over 6000 years. The island has four traditional wineries, Etko, Keo, Loel and Sodap, as well as an insurgence of youthful little upstart businesses speckling about its hills in the past 20 years. When in Cyprus, visitors should sample the Commandaria, a sweet, amber-hued tipple made from native grape varieties. It is the oldest wine still in production.

How to get there

The republic of Cyprus has two international airports – Larnaka and Pafos with a many direct flights to and from UK, and although many tourist use cheap, no frills airlines to get there, you can opt for a package holidays to avoid the hassle.

Hungry yet? From savouries, to sweets to refreshing wines and indulgent coffees, Cyprus is the place to treat the senses. Bon Voyage!

Any other dishes you would add?

Images by First Choice

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