Cyprus. Always delicious
Sunny Mediterranean Cyprus is a great place for tasty food lovers. The local cuisine has been influenced by the culinary traditions of Greece, Turkey, Great Britain and other countries, which resulted in the original cuisine boasting delicious and healthy dishes.
In Cyprus, two or more people may well have a satisfying dinner by ordering only one dish – meze (Μεζέδες). Meze is a kind of a complex lunch, but consisting of at least 20 or even 30 small portions of a wide variety of dishes and snacks. There are three types of meze – meat, fish or mixed. The set includes a garlic-cucumber salad with a yoghurt dressing (ταλατούρι), a pea mousse (χούμους κοπανιστή), a vegetables salad with cheese and olives, an eggplant appetizer, sausages, meat and fish dishes. The options can be very diverse, but always freshly prepared and tasty. Fish meze costs 17-22 euros on average, meat meze – 15-20 euros. (Hereinafter the average prices are indicated. Τhey may differ in different taverns, but not too much).
Moussaka (μουσακάς) – a dish of Greek cuisine, which local chefs cook in a special way. Eggplant with minced meat, baked under béchamel sauce with cheese, eggs, spices, no gourmet will be left indifferent. Sometimes the dishes are supplemented with zucchini, potatoes and tomatoes. Moussaka can cost 10-12 euros.
The local kebab – souvla (Σούβλα) belongs to the traditional Cypriot dishes, small pieces of meat on a skewer is called souvlaki (σουβλάκι). For its preparation various meats are used – mutton, chicken, pork. The meat is not marinated beforehand, it is baked on coals. Pork kebab marinated in wine and coriander is called krasato (κρασάτο), but it is not easy to find it in Cyprus. The average price for souvlaki is 7.5 euros.
Meat lovers can also be recommended to taste keftedes (κεφτέδες), made from minced meat. Meat balls are stewed and served in a tomato-garlic sauce. The average cost of this meal- 10 euros.
Those who prefer lamb will be delighted to try Kleftiko (Κλέφτικο). Pieces of meat are baked in a clay oven for 10 hours, garnished with vegetables, onions, garlic and pepper. Sometimes goat meat is used instead of lamb. The price of this dish is 15 euros.
To cook stifado (Στιφάδο), the chef may choose beef, lamb or pork, but the rabbit stifado is the most delicious. Meat is stewed in vinegar, wine or tomatoes: the most delicate dish that melts in your mouth. A serving of stifado costs about 12 euros.
Rolls in vine leaves in Cyprus are called dolmades (Ντολμάδες). The rice for this dish is pre-fried in a pan with olive oil, then minced meat, spices, vegetables, spices are added, and finally the stuffing is wrapped in vine leaves and stewed. The same stuffed rolls, but with rice and vegetables only, are called koupepya (Κουπέπια). A portion of dolmades costs around 12 euros.
The Cyprus branded product is Halloumi cheese (Χαλούμι). This is a real national treasure. Halloumi is made from goat’s milk, cow’s milk and mixed milk. Cheese can be of three degrees of saltiness, marked blue, yellow and red. Almost every Cypriot village makes halloumi, and everywhere it has its own taste differences. Some varieties can be used for grilling: the cheese does not melt, it gets crusted instead. This dish can be tasted for 7 euros.
It is worth trying the local sausage sheftaliya (σεφταλιά). Meatballs from minced meat, flavored with onion, garlic, cinnamon and other spices, are wrapped in a natural casing – a thin film of lamb or pork gland. Before serving, they are grilled or baked in the oven. Served with a side dish of potatoes, a salad of fresh vegetables.
A long thin sausage is called Loukanica (Λουκάνικα). The minced meat is made from pork, lamb, beef, spices. Then pig intestines, soaked in red wine and smoked, are stuffed with it. Sausages are dried for several days. They are usually served fried in a pan or grilled.
Fish and seafood fans can taste it in any tavern. But for those who want the fish day to last forever, there are specialized restaurants — fish taverns (Ψαροταβέρνα). Cyprus has a lot of trout and salmon farms. For example, in taverns, pestrofa (local trout), sea bass or bream are served grilled or roasted with vegetables. Seafood lovers will love squid, octopus, stewed in pots.
Grilled octopus (χταπόδι) costs about 15 euros, fried swordfish – around the same. Prices for king prawns start at 17.5 euros, for fried squid rings at 12 euros.
For dessert, guests in Cyprus are offered a wide selection of sweets. They are made with honey, nuts, fruit canned in a sweet syrup. Usually, candied green walnuts, watermelon rind, melons or oranges are served with tea. The average cost of a dessert serving is 4 euros.
It is worth tasting «sοujoukos» (σιουσιούκκος), popular with Cypriots – almonds in molasses, baklavas, lokum, halva, tachykopitta – sweets with sesame, a kolokitopita (κολοκυθόπιτα) cake baked from flour and grapes.
Remember, as a rule, large dishes are served in taverns, and even two people can easily get enough with just one. We advise you to order for dinner, for example, one serving of a salad and one main dish — you won’t stay hungry.