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Cyprus 

 Dining & Food

Cypriot food is a blend of Greek and Turkish influences. Barbeque, salads, and Greek/Turkish coffee are very popular. Meze, appetizer plates that can be a full meal (similar to Spanish tapas) are a specialty of Cyprus. Salty halloumi cheese, lightly grilled and served hot, kebabs, olives or some feta cheese are just a few items you might see. The winemaking industry is ancient on Cyprus and Limassol is at the center of wine country. In Mediterranean culture, the table and its food is the spice of life and this is certainly true of Cyprus. Not only will you find all forms of dining, from the traditional tavernas and modern restaurants, but you’ll also find the inevitable takeaway and fast food chains.
The more adventurous traveller however, will find plenty of small local hideaways, where they serve the most delicious traditional dishes you’ll ever likely to taste.   

The tavernas and restaurants offer a large selection of international food, where there is no shortage of all types of delights, from Indian to Chinese, from Mexican to Greek. But the Cypriots themselves are actually very proud of their own traditional cuisine and at Cypriot festivals and fairs a traditional favourite is Souzoukko. This is made by dipping strings of nuts in heated grape juice until the confection solidifies.

Meze is another favourite and when you order Meze (typically less than CYP 10), you will be served a collection of appetisers which are in the form of a selection of up to 20 small dishes consisting of various cheeses, tomatoes, olives, homous, squid, shrimps, fish and succulent pieces of chicken, smoked ham and stuffed vine leaves.

Moussaka is a traditional Cypriot dish made of minced lamb or beef covered with layers of sliced potato and aubergine which is served straight from the oven in earthenware bowls with a generous sprinkling of spices.

Souflakia or kebab are either pieces of lamb or pork skewered and roasted on a charcoal fire and served with chopped onions. The meat is sometimes served in pitta bread with natural yoghurt and onions.

Kleftiko, is a very popular slow-cooking method for meat, fish or vegetables. Other famous dishes include grilled or fried fresh fish, such as synagrida, fagree, red mullet and trout.

Another very important place in any Cypriot village is the traditional coffee shop. This is the place for meeting friends and having a leisurely cup of coffee and if you like strong coffee, you’ll love the coffee in Cyprus.

Much of life in Cyprus is lived outside and everywhere you look I’ll find people both locals and tourists enjoying the wonderful hot sunny weather and a lovely cup of coffee or BEER!!!

Below are some of the local dishes available in many of the tavernas and restaurants.


Local Food

Afelia - pork cooked in red wine and crushed coriander seeds

Avgolemono Soup - egg and lemon soup

Baklava - fillo pastry with nuts and syrup

Bourekia - small puff pastries with meat, cheese or cream cheese filling

Daktyla - almond finger pastries

Elioti - olive bread

Fasolia - haricot beans cooked in a casserole

Feta - salty white cheese crumbled on village salads

Flaounes - Cypriot Easter cakes made from cheese and spices

Glyko - preserved fruits in syrup

Halloumi - firm goats or ewes milk cheese, often served grilled

Hiromeri - marinated, smoked and pressed ham

Houmous - dip from soaked, crushed chickpeas

Kalamari - squid

Keftedes - meat balls with mint

Kleftiko - lamb wrapped in foil with herbs and baked in a sealed oven

Kolokotes - pastries stuffed with red pumpkin, raisins and pourgouri

Kotopoulo - chicken

Koupepia - stuffed vine leaves

Koupes - cigar shaped wheat cases with meat filling

Loukoumades - small doughnuts served in syrup

Lountza - smoked and marinated loin of pork

Louganika - local sausages

Moussakas - layers of minced beef, spices and veg with cheese topping

Octapodi Krasato - octopus in red wine

Pitta - flat envelope of inleavened bread

Pourgouri Pilafi - pilaf of cracked wheat

Ravioli - pasta stuffed with halloumi and mint

Resi - wheat and lamb pilaf, seved traditionally at weddings

Rizogalo - rice pudding served with sprinkled cinnamon

Sheftalia - minced pork and herb rissole

Souvla - large chunks of lamb cooked on a spit

Souvlakia - kebabs

Stifado - rich beef and onion stew

Tahini - sesame seed paste, served as a dip

Taramosalata - dip made from smoked cod roe

Tigania - omelette with courgettes, mushrooms or artichokes

Ttavas - a stew cooked in an earthenware pot

Tzantziki - yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip

The village of Omodos, a town built in the era of the Lusignan Crusaders around the Monastery of the Holy Cross, in the Troodos Mountains north of town, is home to a traditional wine press or linos. Local bottles of red and white, as well as glasses almost fresh from the press can be sampled. The Laona vineyard in the nearby village of Arsos offers tours of its facilities, as does the Kilani Winery, in the less-frequented Kilani village. In Limassol, the KEO brewing company offers tours of its facilities.

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