Cypriots make the most of their fresh produce and the abundant seafood, vegetables, pulses, grains and meat that make up the basis of a regular Cypriot diet.
One of the most famous concepts behind the way Cypriots eat is meze, those famous little plates of just about everything that seem to arrive from the kitchen on to your table in an endless stream.
Dining meze-style is a great way to try a wide variety of Cypriot cuisine, but be warned: you’d better start on an empty stomach.
A traditional meze session could include dips like tahini, taramasalata and plenty of bread; lots of olives; spanakopita (a spinach and feta cheese pie wrapped in filo pastry); vine leaves stuffed with rice and meat; yemista (stuffed vegetables with lots of garlic), casseroles and stews, and the famous souvla (chunks of meat threaded on a spit and grilled over charcoal)
Halloumi is the famous traditional white cheese of Cyprus which has been made on the island for hundreds of years from sheep’s milk. Halloumi is extremely versatile and is eaten in Cyprus grilled, fried (in slices as part of a cooked breakfast), in salads, and stuffed inside ravioli.
Cyprus wines, inexpensive and plentiful, make a good accompaniment to this exotic and lingering repast, and a Cyprus coffee in a tiny cup, ordered according to sweetness desired is a fitting finale with a local brandy.
Besides this typically Cypriot type of meal a visitor offered versatility. There are plenty of charming fish tavernas by the sea and numerous restaurants serving Chinese, Arabic, European and Indian food.
Nurtured by the warm Mediterranean sun, Cyprus fruit and vegetables grow to a size and quantity guaranteed to delight the most demanding palates The trees laden with citrus, and the acres of grapes. particularly on the southern Troodos slopes, are the beginning of the story. The markets and many roadside stalls are a feast of colour, with fruit of every variety, size and hue.
Ripe, juicy, tasty, ready for eating and very inexpensive. These include apples, pears, melons, watermelons, plums, figs, strawberries and cherries to mention but a few.
And the same goes for the island's vegetables. Everyone knows the superlative Cyprus potato - so tasty and ideal for chips - but there are giant, shiny aubergines, massive red tomatoes, fat lettuces, elongated carrots, plump atrichokes, delectable avocadoes and many more.