Cypriots know a lot about food, and they often associate the concept of relaxation with a table richly filled with dishes.
The national Cypriot cuisine has incorporated all the best of the culinary secrets of its neighbors in the Mediterranean. It is based on the traditions of Greek and Turkish cuisine, the influence of Armenian and Arabic is also very noticeable; made their contribution, of course, and English chefs.
According to Health Include, Cypriot cuisine is based on meat and vegetable dishes. The food is healthy, light, fats of vegetable rather than animal origin are consumed more often. There is not a lot of seafood in the diet, because fish is practically not caught off the coast of Cyprus, it is delivered from other regions of the Mediterranean and around the world. As a result – high prices for fish dishes. Local varieties of fish include the Cypriot trout (Greek “pestrofa”); it is bred in the waters of the island.
Sweets in Cypriot cuisine are mostly of oriental origin. Something we are familiar with in the shops of Oriental Sweets (see below). Cypriot honey is very tasty. Almost all year round in Cyprus – fresh fruits and vegetables. The potato crop is harvested 3-4 times a year. Local strawberries appear at the end of January (at this time, 1 kg of strawberries costs 5 C, and by May the price drops to 2 C) and you can buy it until November. Cyprus is famous for its citrus fruits, local varieties of oranges, tangerines and grapefruits are juicy and make excellent juices. By the way, pay attention to Cypriot juices – they are of very good quality and, as a rule, are produced without added sugar and preservatives.
The coffee that ends any lunch is very popular.
In the north of Cyprus there are no big differences in culinary tastes from the south. Unless pork dishes are unlikely to be on the menu.
To get the most complete picture of Cypriot cuisine, order a meze at any restaurant. This is such a complex lunch of about 20 dishes that will be served on the table as they are eaten. Each chef has his own opinion about which dishes should be included in the meze, but the “mandatory” set and the order of serving dishes are strictly observed. First, the table will be filled with salads, cheeses, cold and hot appetizers from vegetables, meat, seafood, then “real” meat dishes will appear, and at the end of the meal you will find sweet dishes and fruits. In addition to meat, some taverns serve fish meze.
Typical Cypriot cuisine
Moussakas – eggplant, potatoes and minced meat baked with egg cream
Aphelia – pork marinated with coriander
Stifado – beef stew with lots of onions
Pitta – a thin-walled flatbread with sheftalia (similar to pork cutlets), souvlakia (similar to barbecue) and fresh vegetables inside
Gemista – tomatoes and peppers stuffed with rice, onion and spices
Mese (sample menu) – green olives with coriander or lemon, rustic salad – cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and feta sheep cheese
Halloumi – fried sheep’s cheese
Tzatziki – sauce made from yogurt, mashed cucumber and garlic
Melizanosalata – stewed and chopped eggplant, garlic, vegetable oil, lemon juice, mayonnaise
Taramosalata – salad of fish caviar, vegetable oil, lemon juice, onion and bread crumb Fried squid rings
Lunza – slices of smoked pork
Dolmades or koupepia – rice fried in olive oil with the addition of onion, mint, pepper and lemon juice, wrapped in boiled grape leaves in the manner of cabbage rolls
Sheftalya – minced meat wrapped in a film of pork stomach
Keftedes – fried meatballs
Lukanika – smoked sausages
Baklava – nothing more than the familiar baklava – cake with nuts poured over with syrup
Lucumia – sweet cubes of jelly sprinkled with powdered sugar, known to us as Turkish delight
Suzuko – long “sausages” made of grape molasses, inside of which are almonds; very similar to the Caucasian churchkhela
It is customary to drink hearty meals with excellent Cypriot wine. Wine traditions in Cyprus have a 4000-year history, even the Egyptian pharaohs drank Cypriot wine, King Solomon himself admired it in his poems. The Cypriots were the first to cultivate grapes. Marvelous vineyards on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains, where the sun shines almost all year round, and the melt water from the mountains provides optimal humidity, give large yields of classic Cypriot grape varieties, from which real Cypriot wine is obtained – strong, with a pronounced taste and aroma. When leaving, take with you a bottle of “Commandaria” – the famous Cypriot wine, which has its own history.
“Commandaria”– the oldest wine in the world, sung by Homer and known since the time of the Crusades. No one knows exactly how long ago it appeared. The current name of the wine was in 1191, when Richard the Lionheart sold Cyprus to the Order of the Knights Templar. The Templars began to call their territories “Commanderies”, later the name was transferred to the wine that was produced there. But wine was already being made 2,000 years before the Templars renamed it from the traditional Mana, “mother.” The wine was aged in huge clay jugs. When it came time to pour it, winemakers always left a little wine at the bottom of the jug and the old wine then helped the young wine to ripen, that is, it was the “mother” of the new wine. And today “Commandaria” is made as it was many centuries ago: first, the grapes are dried in the sun, so that it acquires that mature taste for which wine is famous, then they put it under a press and leave the grape juice to ferment in huge jugs. It is bottled after 10 years of aging. Drink this red dessert wine with fruit, nuts, or by itself – to experience the taste of 4,000 years of history!
Wine is a revenue item in the island’s budget: Cyprus is one of the top five wine exporters in the world. Most of the grapes grown in Cyprus are processed in Limassol, where the largest wineries of the republic are located: KEO, ETKO, CRIST HAGGIPAVLU&SONS LTD, LOEL, SODAP. Along with this, wine is made both in villages and in monasteries, where they are proud of their own recipes passed down from generation to generation.
Of the white wines, “White Lady”, “Daphne”, “Nefeli”, “Aphrodite”, “Thisbe”, “Palomino” are good. Soft local cognacs are also wonderful.
The most famous Cypriot wines
Alcohol content: 12.5%Semi-dry sweet white wine with a mild taste and rich aroma. Produced from Xynisteri grape variety, growing at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level, near the village of Omodos.Production:
The wine is made from grapes grown at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level. Matured in special stainless steel vessels at low temperatures and bottled in isothermal cellars.What to serve with:
The wine goes well with light snacks, fruit, cheese.
Alcohol content: 10%
Light semi-dry white wine with a fruity note and a pronounced grape aroma. Produced from the traditional Cypriot Xynisteri grape variety grown in the Akamas region of Paphos.
The grapes are harvested early in order to achieve a low sugar content in the wine. Wine stays fresh in cool cellars.
What to serve with:
The wine is good on its own, as well as with poultry, fish and salads.
Alcohol content: 11%
A classic dry white wine with a delicate aroma. Produced from the traditional Cypriot Xynisteri grape variety grown in the Krasochoria region at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level.
The wine matures in special vessels at low temperatures.
What to Serve With:
Amazing with fish, poultry, salads, light meals.
Alcohol content: 12%
Dry red wine with rich aroma and mild taste. Produced from two grape varieties, Mavro and Ofthalmo, specially selected from the vineyards of Vouni Panayias and Madhari Pitsillias, growing at an altitude of 1,500 m.
The wine is made from specially selected varieties from vineyards located at an altitude of 1,500 m above sea level. Ripens in isothermal cellars KEO.
What to Serve With:
Ideal with meat dishes and Cypriot meze.