While on holiday in Cyprus, enjoy eating some of these Cypriot specialities. Cypriot cooking is similar to Greek cooking, but with some interesting variations that make sampling the local dishes a real delight. Try some of the following:
A Meze is up to 30 little dishes of meat, vegetables and savoury dips including salad, feta, olives, tzatziki, tarama, hummus, tahini, beetroot, potato salad, marida, calamari, lounza, halloumi, loucaniko, afelia, stifado, kleftiko, dolmades, souvlakia, sheftalia and ortykia. Shared between two or more people, a Meze is both an evening’s eating and entertainment as more and more dishes get piled on your table.
Be bold – can’t identify it? Eat it anyway!
Seafood is big in Cyprus
Try fresh calamari (squid), sea bass and red mullet. Fresh? They were probably caught this morning.
Stews of lamb, beef or rabbit cooked in a sealed clay oven often called ‘Kleftiko’. The long cooking time in the sealed oven gives the meat an amazing tenderness. Afelia – Cubes of pork cooked in red wine and coriander seeds.
Kebabs – known in Cyprus as Souvlaki. These are made using either pork or chicken and barbecued after marinating.
Enjoy the traditional dips, such as hummus, taramosalata (fish roe with lemon juice and parsley) and tzatziki (sheep’s yoghurt mixed with garlic, mint and shredded cucumber).
Usually a ‘Village Salad’ of tomatoes, cucumber, green olives, herbs and bell peppers will accompany your dinner, sprinkled with cubes of salty feta cheese.
The desserts come dripping with honey and dusted with chopped nuts. Try loukoumades, doughnuts with honey syrup, daktyla, ladyfingers with almonds, walnuts and cinnamon, and shiamali, orange semolina cakes cut into squares.
Strong Greek influence
Other dishes you’ll come across have a strong Greek influence. try some of these…
Moussaka – Thin layers of potatoes, aubergine and baby marrow separated with mince meat and topped with bechamel sauce.
Keftedes – Fried meat balls.
Stifado – Cubes of beef with onions, cooked in red wine and special herbs.
Dolmades – Vine leaves stuffed with flavoured mince meat, rice and lemon juice.
Let your imagination run wild
Better still, pick up a Cypriot cook book, shop your own ingredients and experiment. You’re on holiday – use your villa’s kitchen to prepare your own take on Cypriot food.