The ritual of sharing good, fresh local cuisine is an important part of the island’s culture, and is intrinsically linked with every social event, from family gatherings and special occasions to religious festivals… each marked with its own distinct delicacies and recipes. From hearty meat dishes and speciality cheeses to unique desserts of carob and grape, the Cypriot cuisine is an exotic blend of Greek and Middle Eastern cultures, sprinkled with remnants of ancient civilisations such as indigenous Roman root vegetables or old Phoenician delicacies.
And it is no secret that the ‘Mediterranean diet’ is considered to be of the healthiest, thanks to its abundance of heart-healthy olive oil, pulses, lean meat, local herbs and freshly grown fruits and vegetables. Add to this the favourable climate – that gives the fresh produce its intense flavour – and a celebration around every corner, complete with special treats, and you will find a big gastronomic adventure awaits on this tiny island!
Synonymous with Cypriot cuisine is the ‘meze’ – a variety of small dishes that combine to create a feast, and a good starting point to become acquainted with the local dishes, such as moreish dips, braised, stewed and clay-cooked meats; local, freshly caught fish; pulses and legumes in various sauces; specialty cheeses and delicatessen cuts, and more unusual bites, all authentically prepared.
And if you are visiting the island during a festival or holiday period, an amazing array of treats and dishes unique to the event appear to mark the occasion, often made by the women of the family, who gather together on specific days to share in the traditions passed down from generation to generation and that remain today so that both locals and visitors alike can continue to enjoy, savour and share the mouth-watering, appetising, fragrant and abundant everyday experience that Cypriot cuisine!
Browse below for the favourite picks of the island… Why not try make it at home?