The Cypriot cuisine

Cypriot cuisine
Updated 2019-02-25 11:44

Cypriot culture is very closely intertwined with Cypriot gastronomy. The Mediterranean view of food as an essential social ritual is very prominent in Cyprus: slow eating, from small, shared plates called mezze is the norm. Whether we're talking about your morning brew or a multi-course dinner, Cypriots would like to remind you to take it slow and enjoy every flavour.

The Cypriot cuisine

Cypriot cuisine lies at the intersection of Greek, Turkish and Middle-Eastern (mostly Lebanese) culinary traditions. The focus is primarily on meat and fish, with grilling being a big part of the culture, combined with a plethora of fresh, local vegetables and fruits. An in every Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil is always at the forefront, and herbs such as parsley, mint and Estragon are also quite popular. Thanks to the Turkish influences, but also the British occupation, Cypriot also like to cook with spices and are particularly fond of ginger and curry.

Cyprus is a cornucopia of fruit production, with its citrus fruit (mainly oranges and grapefruit) being one of its most important staples. The warm climate also favours banana trees, whereas the mountainous areas are perfect for olive trees and nuts. There are also several grape varieties local to Cyprus, putting the island on the winemaking map since antiquity. There are many vineyards in the mountains, where anything from crisp whites to robust reds are being produced. The most famous Cypriot wine, Commandaria, is delightful and reminiscent of a Vinsanto ' and has been around since the 8th century BCE!

Living in Cyprus means you will get to savour many local dishes. Some of the things you should definitely not miss out on are: kotopoulo me kolokassi, a chicken dish cooked with faro instead of potatoes; kleftiko, made from lamb's legs; sheftalies, small patties wrapped in caul fat and grilled, fried or roasted like sausages; afelia, pork braised in red wine with coriander; koupepia, stuffed grape leaves. You should also try the halloumi; the famous Cypriot cheese served fried or grilled.

Dining out in Cyprus

Dining out in Cyprus is a friendly experience, that takes quite some time. Eating at a traditional taverna in one of Cyprus' many picturesque villages usually means spending hours working your way through as many as thirty meze dishes. These small, tapas-like dishes can be anything from small bits of olives and cheese to smaller portions of some of Cyprus' staple dishes. Although traditionally meat-centric, many tavernas nowadays will bring out a vegetarian or vegan meze selection if you ask them to.

But not everything has to be slow and traditional. In Cyprus, you will also find great fast food options, starting from the famous Greek souvlaki (the Cypriot version of it, where the pita bread is much thinner and allows for extra filling) to any ethnic food and international franchises you may have a craving for.

When it's time for drinks, remember to try Zivania, the Cypriot version of raki with a 45% abv.

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