Cyprus Gastronomy

The food of Cyprus reflects the rich and turbulent history of the island and its indelible Greek culture. You will find tastes influenced by the Middle East, Asia Minor and the Venetians, all using fresh local ingredients, herbs and spices and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet, with its grains and pulses, sun-ripened fresh fruit and vegetables, high-protein fish, lean meat and poultry and wine is a healthy option as well as an irresistible temptation. Kopiaste is a word that you are almost certain to hear in Cyprus, it means 'join us' and is always meant sincerely.

One great way to experience a wide range of the foods that Cypriots enjoy is to visit a typical local tavern and ask for mezedes. You will receive dish after dish of different tastes, both meat and vegetable but be warned – pace yourself because the food is so good you could end up too full to go on by the time you get half way through! Cyprus is also rich in fish taverns and here you can experience yet another gastronomic delight surrounded by Cypriot families.

Pastitsio - minced meat in a rich and delicious creamy sauce, afelia – pork in a red wine sauce, are just two of the wide range of dishes you can try, and to follow perhaps preserved fruit or nuts that can be enjoyed with a Cyprus coffee, sketo, metrio or glyko, plain, medium or sweet. Halloumi cheese is one of the few cheeses that can be enjoyed grilled, fried or simply plain. The choice of food is as varied as the landscape.

by Margarita Mitella

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