What is a meze and why is it so popular in Cyprus?
To get acquainted with the local cuisine is simply impossible if you do not try the meze. This is not a particular treat, but a whole range of dishes. And its composition varies from tavern to tavern. In meze, usually includes sauces (chickpea-based humus, savory yogurt tzatziki, sesame seed tahini and taramasalata, which is made from fish roe), olives, feta in olive oil, Greek salad. All this is served with warm homemade bread or pita bread.
In general, meze is hot or cold. In addition, it is also divided into meat or fish. By the way, it is precisely “meze” that is called a set of dishes in the tourist part of Cyprus. But if you find yourself in a rural area, then you will need to ask for “mezes”, otherwise you might not be understood. In translation, the word means «something to eat or chew on.»
If you decide to choose this option, then on the table will be waiting for you grape leaves stuffed with chopped meat and rice. As a rule, they come with spicy herbs. Very popular «lucanica.» This is the common name for smoked sausages in Cyprus, which add cilantro and other spices. Before cooking, cooks soak them in red wine. The most delicious such sausages are grilled.
And there is also the presence of Lunza — smoked pork tenderloin. Before cooking, it is also marinated. Sometimes meat is served in a sandwich with local goat cheese (halloumi). It is difficult to imagine a meat meze without cutlets made from chopped meat with spices, such a dish is called “keftedes”. Tourists are also well remembered stifado: stewed veal or rabbit. Usually it is marinated in vinegar, and then cooked with onions (often whole). Of the popular meat dishes that are sometimes served as part of meze, it is also worth mentioning souvlaki (shish kebab, but chopped finely), emisto (vegetables stuffed with meat), kleftiko (lamb with bay leaves, cooked in the oven).
If you order fish meze, then you will be served several vegetable salads, all the same sauces and olives. In addition, squid will always be on your table, usually in batter or grilled. Sometimes they are stuffed, often cooked in deep fat. A lot of mussels and small octopuses. Most tourists love the local shrimp, especially since they are surprisingly large. As part of this meze can also go sea urchin, fish soup or even cuttlefish. Often treated to lobster, often bring fish soufflé.
How is the feed?
Since there are a lot of dishes (sometimes their total number can reach up to 30), they don’t bring everything at once. The first thing is snacks, and then begin to serve hot and cold meat or fish dishes. The cost of meze ranges from 20 to 40 euros, depending on where you decided to try it. But given the fact that this food is enough for a company, such pleasure cannot be called expensive.
The meal is usually stretched for several hours and passes under pleasant music. Most tourists like meze: even if a single dish doesn’t fit right away, it’s still something that will taste.