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Cyprus Cuisine

Cypriot cuisine has been influenced by different cultures throuhout history. Therefore there isn’ t any dish, which one would call ‘ Cypriot ’ only. However with little variations from their originals Cypriots have developed quite tasty dishes. Each dish has a peculiar taste and cooking and presentation reflects the character of the people of Cyprus. ‘ Molehiya ’ Arab in origin, has developed completely, appealing to Cypriot taste both in preparation, taste and presentation. Some dishes even vary from region to region in name, preparation and taste. Northern Cyprus is fascinating and appealing to people who eat well and enjoy eating.

Cypriot cuisine shares many features with the Greek and Turkish cuisine however it has a distinct character of its own. Having unique position at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East has added exotic dimensions that make it particularly varied and delicious. Emphasizing fresh local ingredients, regional herbs and spices, and the light use of natural olive oil, the Cypriot palate is quintessentially Mediterranean in character.

Among the items you can expect to be served are: Loukanika, coriander-seasoned sausages, soaked in red wine and smoked; Dolma / Koupepia, grape leaves stuffed with minced meat and rice; Lountza, smoked pork, often served in sandwiches with halloumi, a delicious soft Cypriot cheese, (usually grilled) made from thyme-fed sheep and sometimes spiced with peppermint; sheftalia, grilled pork sausage, afelia, pork marinated in wine and coriander; stiphado, beef or rabbit stew casseroled with wine vinegar, onions and spices; and ofto kleftiko, chunks of lamb cooked in a sealed clay oven and seasoned with bay leaves.
If freshness is one key to cooking in Cyprus, meze is the other. An abbreviation of mezedes, or little delicacies, meze consist of as many as 30 small plates of food, from savory dips and vegetables to a wide range of fish and meat dishes. Much more than hors d'euvres, the meze often comprise the heart of a meal itself. In some restaurants and tavernas you can choose to order seafood meze or meat meze.

Seafood dishes include calamari, octopus in red wine, barbun (red mullet), and sea bass. Some common vegetable preparations are potatoes in olive oil and parsley, pickled cauliflower and beets, zucchini, kolokas (a unique Cypriot product a bit like horse-radish), sweet potato-like root vegetable and asparagus.
Frequently used ingredients are vegetables such as courgettes, green peppers, okra, green beans, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and grape leaves, and pulses such as beans (for fasoulia), broad beans, peas, black-eyed beans, chick-peas and lentils.

Pears, apples, grapes, oranges, mandarines, nectarines, mespila, black berries, cherry, strawberries, figs, watermelon, melon, avocado, citrus, lemon, pistachio, almond, chestnut, walnut, hazelnut are some of the commonest of the fruits and nuts. Some of the most well-known spices and herbs are: pepper, parsley, roka, celery, mint, thyme, oregano and others.

Cypriot desserts often consist of fresh fruit, served alone or with a selection of sweet pastries or fruit preserved in syrup. These include Lokma (or loukoumades), Cyprus doughnuts with honey syrup, daktyla, ladyfingers with almonds, walnuts and cinnamon, and shammali, orange semolina cakes cut into squares. In cafes, popular snacks include kolokoti, a pastry triangle stuffed with red pumpkin, cracked wheat and raisins, and pastellaki, a sesame, peanut and honey syrup bar. There is also galatopoureko, a cream-stuffed phyllo pastry. A traditional sweet treat are Lokum, Cypriot delights bes of gelatin flavoured with rose water and dusted with powdered sugar.

Rice is prepared as the chard pilaf, locally called seskoulorizo, which contains chard leaves, chopped onions, long grain rice, peeled and chopped tomatoes, freshly ground pepper, olive oil and parsley. The meal is usually served with plain yoghurt and crusty bread. There is a variety of sweet snacks, which are found in most of the café bars around Cyprus, like the honey and syrup doughnuts. Honey is also used for the pastellaki, which is a snack prepared with sesame, peanut and honey syrup. There can be found many Oriental kebabs, with various kinds of beef or chicken meat, wrapped in a special bread and with various dressings.





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