Gazing back through the centuries, one can explore Cyprus’ rich history in gastronomy with indigenous products and unique recipes that cannot be found anywhere else. Cyprus has a variety of authentic recipes for food and a variety of wines among which the most ancient wine in the world; Commandaria! Adding to the above, Cypriot cuisine, is a Mediterranean one, is one of the healthiest in spite of the fullness in flavors.
Cyprus cuisine is famous well beyond the island, partly due to the unique mixture of Greek and Turkish traditions within the sole Mediterranean cooking culture with its love to olive oil and fresh natural ingredients. Every dinner on the island includes several types of cheese, olives, classical sauces, fresh bread, seafood and meat.
From the scorching heat of the coast to the cooler, sometimes snowy mountains, Cyprus’s diverse landscape yields an amazing wealth of ingredients, culinary treats and exotic flavours.
Halloumi is a wonderful cheese made from a mix of goat and cow’s milk. You can't visit Cyprus without tasting this cheese. Its texture is unique and delicious, lending itself to both sweet and savoury accompaniments. Try it with olives and village bread or with a refreshing slice of watermelon. It is magic for cooking as it holds its shape and does not melt, so ideal for barbecuing over hot coals.
Pastelaki is a nut brittle originating from Ancient Greece. The great historian Herodotus made reference proclaimed it a wonderful tonic as well as a sweet delicacy. Made using locally grown peanuts and almonds with select sesame seeds, this snack is deliciously crisp, healthy and nutritious.
Anari cheese is made from the whey produced when making Halloumi. Mild in flavour with a soft creamy texture and low in fat, it is the perfect addition to any healthy diet as part of breakfast or a snack. Available either salted or unsalted, Anari is delicious eaten freshly made. When hung to dry and harden it is excellent grated onto pasta or salads.
Loukanika, village sausages are made from selected fresh pork meat, wine, salt and spices. The meat is minced, marinated with coriander seeds, black pepper and salt, then left to mature in dry red wine for 7-15 days to absorb all the flavours. Delicious barbecued or fried, and enjoy with grilled halloumi topped with a fried egg for a great Cypriot breakfast.
One of the locally-loved snacks is the ‘koupa’, and what makes it even more special, is that its introduction to Cyprus was in Larnaka many, many years ago! A koupa is a handheld snack, shaped like an American football, with a crust made of bulgur wheat, and stuffed with mince, onions, parsley and spices.
Carob Ceratonia siliqua. The carob tree has been cultivated in Cyprus for almost 2,000 years. Carob honey is extracted from the ground pulp of the carob.
Shoushoukos is a grape-based gastronomic delight made by threading nuts...usually whole almonds or walnut halves...onto a string, then repetitively dipping into a liquid jelly made of grape must often flavoured with a little rosewater. If you are in Cyprus toward the end of the summer during the grape harvest, you will catch sight of strings of shoushouko hanging out to dry from many a village veranda. Thinly sliced, shoushoukos is the perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine or brandy.
Glyka tou koutaliou are sweet preserves served in a tiny spoon as a gesture of hospitality. These spoon sweets are made from unusual fruits and vegetables, like figs, cherries, watermelon peel, walnuts or almond stuffed l
Zivania is a centuries-old local hooch common to all Cypriots. A pure white distillate produced from a blend of grape pomace and local dry wine, it has a distinct taste and aroma. Other than enjoying Zivania as an alcoholic drink, it is also used to treat wounds, massage aching bodies, and is a remedy for colds and toothaches. Warming too as a hot toddy during our cold winter months....
Cypriot coffee is wonderfully strong and aromatic. Served in demitasse cups, it is taken sketo, no sugar, metrio, one sugar or gliki, very sweet! The sign of a good cup of coffee is the kaimaki its creamy frothy top layer. You should never drink to the bottom of the small cup else you will end up with a mouthful of bitter coffee pulp!
Angela from Stayplanet