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The Taste of Cypriot Cuisine; An Appetizing Journey

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One of the reasons we travel is to enjoy food. Thinking about heading to Cyprus soon and taste Cypriot Cuisine? Well, let me take you to this appetizing journey.

Raise your hands if you are binge-watching Netflix food series! Of course, count me in! These shows are taking me to the mouthwatering flavors from Bangkok, Mexico, Dublin, New Orleans, Marrakesh, and everywhere! But wait, how about Mediterranean food? If I’m not mistaken it has not been featured so far, except for Malta which is the closest country, I suppose.

So, let’s check out what comprises Mediterranean food and I am taking you to a foretaste of Cypriot food.

Mediterranean diet

it is a diet inspired by the greeks and southern Italy and Spain. It can help you lose weight and at the same time keep you healthy.

URBAN DICTIONARY

Aha! Healthy and helps you to lose weight. At the end of this article, I wanna hear you saying YES to this or Umm or AHA! 😉

Cypriot Cuisine

Do you have any idea?

Cypriot Cuisine is not so far from the Greek food. What varies aside from Greek influences; it has strong influences from Arabic and Turkish. The spices give an exciting kick to these dishes but not so spicy. Bear in mind that Cypriots are Greeks too and part of Cyprus is Turkish occupied.

Cyprus Dishes

With four cookbooks, home cooking is such delight and I have several favorite recipes. Here is a rundown of Cypriot dishes.

I. Vegetables, Beans & Halloumi

Cyprus has rich agricultural produce and these are a popular diet in every Cypriot home. Home cooking with fresh potatoes, zucchinis, carrot, beans, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, and celery are very common. These recipes are from grandma’s cooking.

Olive oil is also a very abundant produce thus, more use of this oil. Boiled veggies and beans are sizzled with olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.

By the way, lemons are part in almost all of the dishes – vegetables, meat, soups and salads.

Spices and herbs commonly used are thyme, basil, parsley, coriander, mint, cumin, pepper and paprika.

Halloumi cheese is very popular in Cyprus, a white and brined cheese from the goat’s, and sheep’s milk. This is the type of cheese that you can enjoy in so many ways – raw, fried, grilled. One of the products for exports to various countries worldwide.

An easy dinner will be a sandwich with halloumi cheese with tomatoes.

II. Meat

Souvlaki – Cyprus BBQ

We know that every country has its own version of BBQ. Here in Cyprus, it is souvla, which means skewers. Pieces of meat such as pork, chicken, and lamb are grilled in these skewers and you can also put mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes. My earliest recollection around Greeks is dining with souvlaki be it in their homes or tavernas/restaurants. You will eat this with pita bread, salad and tahini or hummus.

Souvlakia is the regular sandwich – pieces of meat stuffed in pita bread with salad, tahini or hummus sauce, and fried potatoes as a side dish.

Sheftalia

My favorite! This is a traditional Cypriot sausage – pork and lamb sausage. A rich flavor sausage and great for souvla too! Or grill it in the oven.

Rolo

Is a Greek version of meatloaf or sometimes I call it a big version of sheftalia. A lamb’s membrane covers the entire roll. Another favorite of mine.

Lamb

Lamb is a popular menu during big celebrations and for Sunday lunch. During Easter, they have a traditional lamb soup from internal parts called Magiritsa and grilling of lamb’s intestines with other parts called kokoretsi.

Ofto Kleftiko is lamb cook in a hole in the ground just like the old times. Some restaurants offer this a few times a week. Per serving is about 10 EUR. “A story about ofto kleftiko is about a stolen lamb from the herd then cook for hours underground. During mealtime, the owner of the stolen lamb is invited, to “tease him” of the lost lamb.”

III. Pasta

Pastitsio is a baked macaroni version, it can also be called as Makarona de forno. Totally a comfort food, with a touch of mint taste. On top is a bechamel white sauce. Yum! Trust me, I can eat this for days!

IV. Seafood

Calamari is a popular seafood dish. Fish coated in batter usually, a red mallet fish or called locally as barbouni; paired with fried potatoes, hence fish and chips.

For bigger fish, we grill it in the oven with vegetables, lemon juice, and olive oil.

This is octopus stewed in wine. However, shells and shrimps are no longer abundant in Cyprus waters.

V. Dessert

The traditional dessert is a spoonful of yogurt with sweetened fruit on top. Glyko tou koutaliou means a spoonful of sweet. There is a festival for these sweets in the mountain village of Kakopetria and you can get a free taste of a variety of sweetened fruits.

Another favorite dessert of mine is ekmek kadaifi, which is of Turkish origin. I love its creamy texture and just an OMG moment.

VI. Breads and Pies

Cyprus Traditional Bread

Head to the local market for traditional breads. Psomi is a traditional village bread and sometimes with olives in it. Koullouri is a pretzel like bread which is great for snacks.

And pies – Tiropita/Cheese pie, Spanakopita/Spinach pie. Pies are wrap in filo sheets, these are thin sheets of dough, also use in baklava.

Cheers!

Every place has its own local drink. For Cyprus, it is Zivania; a pomace brandy from the distillation of grapes and local wines. And here’s more, alcohol content is….40-99%! Are you ready for this?

How do you say cheers the Cypriot way?  Στην υγειά σας /Stin Geai Sas which means – for your health!

In Greece you say Yamas for cheers and the local drink is tsiporou.

If the zivania is too strong for you, you have a selection of Cyprus wines with an alcohol content of about 12%. The southern part of Troodos mountain is where most of the wine villages are. Certainly a destination for wine tasting.

Kopiaste na fame!

Cypriots welcome their guests by saying Kopiaste.

Welcome, Let’s Eat!

Now you have an overview of the taste of Cypriot Cuisine. It is not far from what you have in mind with the many influences. As per history, several invasions affect their food. That’s why this differs from the flavors and taste of Greek food in Greece.

Communal eating is the best way to describe the Cypriot way of eating, that’s why they have meze. True to that this is the best way in tasting a variety of traditional Cypriot dishes. Once in Cyprus, book yourself to a meze restaurant, and take note that you will have as many as thirty-five varieties of small dishes. Make sure you are gear up for this and of course, a round of drinks with great company will conclude this unforgettable meal.

Finally, a more amazing experience is to accept an invitation from locals and dine together with them. Share the good food, learn more about their culture, and hear great stories from the past.

Dining the Cypriot way!
Kopiaste na fame!

So what’s the verdict when it comes to healthy food?

Is this reason enough to visit Cyprus?

I hope you all have an appetizing journey and let me know if I have activated your palates somehow.

58 Comments

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Kopiaste! I just had breakfast, but after reading this post I am hungry again. Big part of traveling the world for me is to enjoy the local cuisine. Loved the pictures of the foods and local market. Cyprus is on my travel list and I can’t wait to visit.

Efcharisto! Ahahaha. I love zucchini with eggs in the morning or a tiropita 😉 have an awesome time in Cyprus soon 💕

Don’t think I’ve ever tried Cypriot cuisine! After reading this, I really think I should – the sheftalia looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing

Geez. I hate reading food blogs. It makes me hingry. LOL! This list has the most appetizing things on the planet. Looks like Arabic and Turkish food too. Oh ill better try that Zivana… i cant forget the Hungarian palinka and turkish Raki. I need to add cyprus in my bucket list now.

Well, now I’m hungry!! I LOVE mediterranean food, and could eat it every day. The only thing I can’t really get on with is lamb – I don’t really like the taste. Everything else though looks spot on! Halloumi is my all time favourite 💜 I haven’t had it in so long though!

Cheers to Mediterranean food! I was not a lamb eater before till I keep on tasting and now I Like it. But that’s ok there are so many dishes to try. Thanks! 💕

my mouth is WATERING!! this article is so well written. please continue to share your adventures with us:)

Wow! These foods all so incredible! Thank you for sharing this I enjoyed reading it!

Amber – The Unpredicted page

I adore Greek and Turkish food and I still dream of the most amazing Kleftiko we had when we went to Cyprus one year. Everything is always so fresh and bursting with flavour. Thank you for sharing, it was a lovely trip down memory lane 🙂 Lisa

Thank you Lisa! Grab a Cypriot cookbook or you can find it online and fix something at home. And of course, come back soon!

I did’t know about the Netflix food series… but I’m going to check it out now. I love food!!! I’ve never been to Cyprus, but the food looks amazing so I’ll be adding this destination to my list. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Sharon! These are the netflix series I was glued for days: restaurants on the edge, somebody feed phil, asia street food and ugly delicious. I’m so happy that you add Cyprus on your list! Thank you 💕

Oh, Greek food is my absolute favourite cusine, which obviously means I love cypriot food becuase of the whole similarities. Gemista is my all time favourite! I am so hungry after watching this! I have only visited Cyprus once, but maybe this is a sign I need to look into visiting again!
Tonia Buxton has some great cookbooks for healthy Cyrpriot food and used to haev a great show with lots of yummy recipes!

thanks for sharing!

Aimsy xoxo
Aimsy’s Antics

Hello! Yes I am a fan now of Greek cuisine. There’s more to soulaki and moussaka. I’ll check on Tonia Buxton and try new recipes! Yay that’s great, enjoy Cyprus once again. Thank you. 💕🙃

Yum! The variety of food in these gorgeous photos is making me hungry! When we visited Greece, we had a fabulous time trying many local dishes. I did not come across the beautiful dessert, ekmek kadaifi, but I would love to go to Cypress and try it!

Thank you! It seems everyone is hungry. I love to cook for you all. 😉 When you visit Cyprus you can ask from a taverna/restaurant for ekmek kadaifi.

Hello! Maybe you can check from the grocery shops for halloumi cheese and probably head to a Greek restaurant for a taste. Thanks!

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