One of the key luxuries of traveling is getting to know the culture of another country or people. This could be done by immersing yourself in the country such as visiting the important landmarks, getting to know the people, even presenting an effort to learning their language. However, it cannot be denied that the most popular and enjoyable thing to get to know about a culture is through its food.
Because of its location Cyprus is close to the Middle East, as a result, Cyprus has been influenced not only in the aspect of religion but also with regards to their culinary arts. Here is a short list of the native delicacies that you must try when you visit Cyprus.
Halloumi – Halloumi is probably the most famous delicacy in Cyprus that came to cuisine from Greece and the Middle East. Halloumi is a ripened and brined, semi-hard cheese made from the combination of goat’s milk with that of sheep’s milk or cow’s milk. This cheese has a high melting point, which means it can be fried, grilled, or even served cold with a watermelon on summer evenings.
Makaronia Tou Fournou – Americans may have their famed baked macaroni and cheese, but Cyprus has its Makaronia Tou Fournou. This delicious and savory dish is made up of pasta, bechamel sauce, minced pork, tomatoes and topped with halloumi cheese. The cheese is sprinkled generously at the top before being baked in the oven. Greece also has the same kind of dish called Pastitsio, but their version is made with the local cheeses instead.
Stifado – The Cyprus dish of Stifado is reminiscent of the saucy meat stews made in other parts of the world. This beef dish is prepared with onions, red wine, cinnamon sticks, and cloves, which makes this dish both sweet and savory. The origins of the dish can be traced to Venetia, but the Cypriots altered the recipe and made it theirs by adding tomatoes in the broth. It is typically served with rice or pilaf.
Souvlakia with Sheftalia – This delicacy may sound and look familiar because of is closeness to the renowned Greek delicacy, Souvlaki. The Cypriots’ dish is made of delicious meat cut up into small pieces after being cooked in a charcoal grill. Fresh vegetables and salad join the meat and wrapped with pitta bread, which is larger and thinner than the Greek’s. A Souvlakia meal cannot be complete without Sheftalia at its side. These are parcels of grilled spiced sausage that is made of herbs and pork or lamb meat. The vegetarian option is made from halloumi cheese and mushrooms.
Glyko Tou Koutaliou – Meals in Cyprus end with a spoon of sweets or Glyko Tou Koutaliou. These teaspoon sized delicacies are ideal to be served with Cypriot coffee and a glass of refreshing water. Vegetables, nuts, or fruits are boiled, sugared, and stored in jars to create this dessert delicacy. The most popular versions are made from walnut, cherry, or watermelon. Loukoumades – Similar to donuts and munchkins, Cyprus also have their fried dough balls that are called Loukoumades. These honey doughnut treats are light and spongey. The dough balls are served covered with cinnamon powder and crushed nuts or sesame seeds.