Cyprus cuisine: what to try in Cyprus
Coming to a foreign country on vacation or on business, for a few days or a long time, a person in any case should have something to eat. Acquaintance with local cuisine, tasting of new dishes and drinks takes not the last place among tourist impressions.
Cyprus cuisine has developed from several components. Lots of meat, vegetables and dairy products. The millennial history of the cultivation of grapes went along with the development of winemaking, so there is no bad wine in Cyprus. And finally, a mixture of several cultures. The basis of the Cypriot cuisine is Greek traditions, in which traces of Turkish and Arab influence are noticeable.
In taverns and restaurants, fish and seafood caught by local fishermen in the Mediterranean Sea are used, although the catch in coastal waters has been decreasing recently.
The menu usually indicates that the dish is made from frozen imported seafood, moreover, they are cheaper. Local meat in Cyprus: livestock is grown on farms, so fresh chilled meat is always used for cooking. Beef is not very popular because there is little of it on the island due to lack of feed. It affects a dry climate with a small amount of precipitation.
Food in Cyprus is taken seriously. Cypriots themselves love meat, fish and vegetables, and cook them equally tasty. Some dishes seem familiar to sophisticated tourists because they have spread throughout the world and resemble well-known dishes, such as kebabs. However, in Cyprus a special piquancy and unique taste of the entire kitchen give a variety of sauces.
Cypriot cuisine is mostly simple. Locals enjoy the food and eat a lot. It is also not customary to save money on customers, so restaurants and taverns usually serve large meals. We must be prepared that one ordered dish can be enough for two.
What to try in Cyprus
Meze, strictly speaking, cannot be considered an independent dish. This is a variety of different products. The secret is that the products do not mix, so there are several types of meze — meat, fish or vegetable. As a result, you will bring 10-15 small portions, each on a separate plate, as if for a sample.
Sea meze consists of shrimps, deep fried or cooked in batter, mussels, squid, cuttlefish and crabs. Be sure to grill fish, fried fish or fish soufflé.
The most delicious fish meze is prepared closer to Protaras and Famagusta, as it is the most fishing areas of Cyprus
Meat meze consists of lamb, pork, beef, cooked in the national taste. The main methods are grilling and roasting in the oven.
The set includes dzadziki, tahini, hummus and taramasalata, from vegetable snacks — salted mushrooms, eggplants, zucchini, cauliflower, caper leaves and beets, from cheese — yuti and chalumi. Add to this boiled potatoes and fries, and you get an idea of the Cyprus meze.
Eating meze turns into an independent meal. It is believed that the name comes from the word mezedes, which means «little goodies.» The table is served with olives, bread (pita, croutons). For dessert, pastries made from seasonal fruits. Meze is cooked differently everywhere, and experts have up to 20 different options. Meze is a good way to experience Cypriot cuisine.
Kleftiko It is considered the main meat dish in Cyprus. This is the meat of lamb, baked in a special oven over low heat for 5-6 hours. Simultaneously with the meat, baked beans or potatoes.
You can not try kleftiko once and say that you know its taste, because each cook has his own secrets, his own seasonings, and every time the dish turns out differently.
Souvlaki at first glance reminds kebabs. It is made from lamb, beef or pork. However, kebabs can only be called this version of souvlaki, when it is fried on coals. Even souvlaki baked in clay or stew pots with vegetables, onions, bay leaf, pepper.
The finished dish can be wrapped in a fresh flat cake. If large chunks of meat are taken for cooking, then the dish is called suvla. In Cyprus, it is not customary to marinate meat for shish kebabs, so the prepared dish may seem dryish, but it is bought with the freshness and tenderness of the meat.
Krasato more like a familiar kebab, because it is made from pork marinated in wine with coriander.
Moussaka — These are eggplants stuffed with minced meat, with chopped vegetables, which are poured with bechamel sauce, sprinkled with grated cheese and baked in the oven.
Tawwa resembles Caucasian dolma. The filling is made of meat and rice, which is wrapped in grape leaves with a lot of spices.
Stifado — Beef, which is first fried, and therefore stewed in red wine with onions and spices.
Gyros strongly resembles shawarma. This is any meat cooked on special equipment, which is then cut into small pieces and wrapped with salad, french fries and dzadziki sauce in pita.
Cyprus sauces and salads
Cyprus sauces are certainly on the table along with olives. Sometimes they can serve olives baked in foil. The second obligatory attribute of the Cyprus table is lemons cut into quarters, because here it is customary to sprinkle a salad of fresh vegetables, fish, meat with lemon juice.
Dzadziki — The most famous and popular sauce that goes well with meat and fish. It is made from yogurt, pickled cucumbers, mint and garlic.
In Greece, cucumbers are rubbed on a coarse grater, in Cyprus they prefer to cut them into small cubes. The sauce is very refreshing in the heat.
Taramasalata is prepared on the basis of mashed potatoes with olive oil and adding pollock roe. Sauce turns out bright pink with special fish flavor.
Hummus made from pea puree, garlic, lemon juice with olive oil.
Tahini made from sesame seeds with lemon juice.
Famous Greek salad The menu is recorded as “Village salad”, that is, rustic salad. This is a green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and obligatory pieces of feta cheese. It is customary to pour it with olive oil and sprinkle with lemon juice or vinegar.
Fett — soft cheese from sheep milk. A mixture of sheep and goat milk is allowed. Cheese ripens about two months in its own brine. Fetta is served with Greek salad, it is eaten on its own, cut into slices with olive oil and oregano.
Fetta is widely used for filling hot dishes, pasta. Fetta baked with tomatoes or other vegetables, it turns out a great vegetable snack. It is interesting that in Greece the name of this cheese is written in principle with one “t”, therefore in Cyprus it is customary to write a spelling with two “t”.
Cheese Halloumi It is made from goat milk and is very often found on the menu. He is revered in Cyprus on a par with feta. Halloumi is very good grilled, although it is eaten in the usual form, used in salads and side dishes for meat and fish dishes. Halloumi’s production is protected by law, therefore it can only be produced in Cyprus.
Oriental traditions are well marked in the Cyprus baking culture, cooking desserts. Here love halva, nuts in honey, Turkish delight, baklava and a variety of sweet desserts.
Green walnuts, watermelon or melon peels, orange peels make excellent local candied fruits. They are served in their own syrup and eaten with a fork and knife. For dessert, it is customary to order tea or Cypriot coffee. In Cyprus, coffee is called «metrio». It is served at the end of the meal. The drink is brewed in the Turk and brought to the boil several times. The coffee is strong, served in a small cup, sipped and washed down with water.
Lovers can try «Rizogalo», which is a sweet rice porridge, which, thanks to the addition of cinnamon, acquires an original taste.
Alcoholic drinks in Cyprus
Drinks to the table are ordered additionally. Cyprus is especially famous for its wine, characterized by its consistently high quality.
«Commandaria — the most famous Cypriot wine. It’s amber-golden, withLadka, fortified dessert wine considered one of the oldest in the world. They drank it back in the 9th century BC, and then, in the Middle Ages, the Knights Hospitallers began to produce according to traditional recipes, thanks to which wine became known throughout Europe. For the first time the wine is officially mentioned under the name «Commandaria» in 1191.
The wine is made from Xynisteri and Mavro grapes grown in the Troodos Mountains, near Limassol. Today «Commandaria» is produced under the brand name of the largest Cyprus wine company KEO.
There are a great many wineries and wineries in Cyprus, so it’s simply impossible to list all the wines. We can say one thing: all wines are of excellent quality. The process of winemaking is under state control. Wine is made only from grapes grown in certified vineyards.
Among the popular names should be noted white wine «Bellapais» (Bellapais), named after the famous monastery. Delicate taste of semi-sweet white wine «Aphrodite» (Aphrodite) is in demand with the ladies.
Very popular and tasty white dry wine «Thisby «, which has a fresh taste of apples and grapefruit. Moderately chilled, it accompanies poultry, fish, and salads well.
Red wines should definitely try Othello (Othello) — dry wine with a rich aroma of berries, fruits and a soft rich flavor. Perfect with red meat and casserole dishes.
In Cyprus, there is a lesson for lovers of hard liquor, who should definitely try the «Zivania». Cypriots squeezed grapes called «Zivana» — hence the name of the drink. Locals consider this drink «Cypriot whiskey». Its strength can be from 45 to 49 degrees.
The best “Zivania” is rarely found in stores, and you will have to go to the Troodos Mountains, to the store at the Kykkos Monastery, which has a license to produce a drink. Here you can buy even rare the red «Zivania» which the monks insist on honey and herbs.
«Five Kings» — most famous cognac in Cyprus, produced on factory KEO.
From strong drinks popular anisette “Ouzo. « It is drunk from tall narrow glasses with the addition of ice, due to which vodka becomes muddy white.
In the heat cools well local beer brewed at KEO or LEON. So, with food from tourists in Cyprus there will be no problems. Food will not have to look long. Mobile tourists who are actively moving and do not want to spend a lot of time on food, can use the services of global fast food chains or local «eateries».
Even in such establishments they cook tasty and cooked food can be taken away to avoid sitting in the heat in a close stuffy room. In cities and small towns, you can always have a snack in the cafeteria, equipped with 3-4 tables. There are many Europeans in pubs and bars, spending time with a glass of beer or a glass of local wine and watching football broadcasts.
During the organized excursions, tourists are often brought to certain establishments where they serve a kind of “complex lunch” without any frills. If you want to try real Cypriot food, then go to the tavern. Cypriots have a tradition to arrange in the taverns a Saturday dinner or a Sunday lunch. There is a simple rule for tourists: if there are many locals in the institution, it means that there is a good cuisine here.
How much is lunch in Cyprus
The exact price of lunch in Cyprus is difficult to name. The final figure will depend on the type of meat or fish, on the ingredients used, on the location (in the center of the city is more expensive) and the status of the establishment. The budget is the price of 15-20 euros per person. In expensive restaurants, a similar meal will cost 85 euros.