CYPRIOT FOOD AND DRINKS
Pork cubes, marinated and cooked
in red wine with coriander
whey cheese produced in
known than other Cypriot cheeses
whey used is usually a by-product in the
production process of other harder cheeses,
commonly that of
kefalotyri cheese. The whey is gradually
heated to 65oC in a large cooking
bowl. A small amount of goat or
sheep milk (5-10%) can be added at this
temperature to improve the end product
quality. The temperature is then increased
to boiling point, whilst mixing. At 80-85oC
small crumbly curds of anari start forming
and are skimmed off the surface using a
slotted spoon or a
colander. They are placed in a container
that allows further drainage and then cut
into cubes of roughly 10 cm sides. Excluding
the drainage, the above process takes
roughly 1 hour.
Chicken, lemon, egg and rice
soup. A classic local delicacy.
Pastries with Fresh Anari Cheese
Smoked, marinated and pressed
pork. Delicious with koulouri.
* Cyprus coffee & Coffee
Cypriots drink a lot of local
coffee. It is made individually
in long handled pots, wide at
the base and tapering at the
top. These are called mbrikia,
and come in various sizes. Fresh
coffee beans, usually Brazilian,
are finely ground, and one
heaped teaspoon is added to each
demitasse of cold water. Sugar
goes in too at this stage,
before heating the coffee on the
stove. Therefore you need to
know whether you order your
coffee 'glykos' (sweet), 'metrios'
(medium sweet), or 'sketos'
The mbrikia are heated on the
stove and when the sugar has
dissolved, the coffee is allowed
to come to the boil, forming a
creamy froth 'kaimaki' on top.
As the froth turns in from the
sides, and the coffee begins to
rise in the pot, it is removed
from the heat and a little is
poured into each cup, to
distribute the froth.
Cyprus coffee is strong and
should always be served with a
glass of cold water. Sip with
care for at the bottom of
every cup lurks a little
sediment - don't drink it!
Cyprus Delight Just east of Paphos is the
village of Geroskipou, with
its cluster of little basket
and gift shops strung along
the roadside. It is a place
well worth exploring with
the picturesque five-domed
Byzantine church of Ayia
Paraskevi and newly
renovated Folk Art Museum.
The village's history
stretches back to ancient
times; its name, comes from
the classical Greek "Heiros
Kipos" meaning "Sacred
garden" it is believed that
it used to be an extensive
area of beautiful gardens,
filled with fragrant flowers
and pomegranate trees,
dedicated to the goddess
Aphrodite. Pilgrims would
rest in the gardens on their
journey to the sacred temple
at Kouklia from the old
harbour at Paphos.
the gardens have long since gone. But the
village is still filled with a sweet sugary
fragrance that is carried on the air from a
cluster of small buildings where the famous
(a euphemism increasingly
used since 1974 to describe
what is called Turkish
delight in English) are made
(in Greek, their name,
Loukoumia, has no
Roadside stalls are piled
high with brightly coloured
boxes of these delicious
sweets and the owners stand
in the shop doorway and
warmly invite you inside to
watch the sweets being made.
Cyprus Delights have been
made in the village since
1895 and the little
factories are all family
concerns that have been
handed down through the
Each family closely guards
their secret recipe.
Dusted in Icing
Piled up for display
variety of flavours
* Cyprus Sweets:
- Vazanaki - Karpouzi -
Amigdalou - Kitromilo - Milo -
Axladi -Kerasi - Mosfilo
Fresh Walnuts In Syrup.
Among all the traditional spoon
sweets this can be ranked on the
top of the list as the best.
Eggplant spoon sweet.
Watermelon spoon sweet
Courgette spoon sweet
Orange peel spoon sweet
Apple spoon sweet
Pear spoon sweet
Cherry spoon sweet
A sweet made from a small orange
Daktyla kyrion (meaning ladies
fingers) is one of the best
known Cypriot pastry desserts (filled
with ground almonds and cinnamon
and a speciality offered during
the pre-Lenten period called
«Sikoses» in Cyprus. The word
«sikoses» derives from the verb
'sikono', meaning lifting.
Sikoses is the ten day period
before lent when no meat is
eaten. Like most of the
Cypriot traditional recipes, these were made with simple
ingredients which the housewives
had at home everyday. A very
old recipe with few ingredients
but so delicious.
* Eliopitta: Ellioti,
are particularly popular in Cyprus, they are
delicious and constitute a great healthy
Sometimes cooked with potatoes, carrots,
celery and tomatoes and sometimes with Swiss
Traditional Easter bread.
Eggs, cheese, sultanas and sugar stuffed in
a kind of pastry and oven baked.
Up to now the women of the village made the
traditional cheese of Cyprus, “halloumi”
(made of goat and sheep’s milk) .
Unfortunately young people don’t seem
willing to continue the tradition, which
will probably be lost in the future. However
Halloumi is now made commercially.
How Halloumi is made. Firstly, the milk is heated
at a low temperature inside a “chartzi”
(traditional large copper caldron).
producer adds “pithkia”
which is a special powder/enzyme that
thickens the milk. An hour later, the milk
is set and then the halloumi is cut and put
in the “talaria” (special wicker-baskets).
Later on, the halloumi is pressed by
hand so that all the liquids are removed.
After the “pressing”, it is
placed in the “tiroskamni” (traditional
tool) and it is cut into pieces
(approximately 200gr each). The rest of the
liquid, which remained in the caldron, is
reheated at a high temperature thus
producing “anari” (white soft cheese).
The halloumi pieces are then
placed back into the caldron, inside the
“norros” (whey), and are heated over a low
flame until they are completely cooked. The
cooking procedure lasts for about 60 to 90
minutes during which the small pieces of
halloumi must be occasionally stirred with a
special dipper. After being cooked they are
again placed in the “tiroskamni” (cheese maker’s
tool) to cool down. Afterwards they are
salted and various aromatic elements (such
as mint) are added. When the halloumi is
cold, it is placed into plastic or glass
vessels with “noro”.
The halloumi and the
are white in colour, unlike the majority of
seeds pulp and sugar melded into
a square, sometimes with nuts or
Similar to Parma ham, delicious
thinly sliced. Cured with wine
Kattimeri is a Cyprus dessert
which comes from an old
traditional recipe. A bread type
dough, which is spread with
sugar, oil and cinnamon, before
being folded like an envelope
and cooked on a special griddle.
Serve with honey.
Hard rinded cheese which
comes in large rounds. Good texture and quite strong in flavour.
This is a dish of slow baked
lamb, which is cooked in a
sealed oven in the garden. By
using this method of cooking the
meat cooks completely in its own
juices and tastes delicious. The
dish got its name from the word
'kleftis' which means robber,
and it is said that in the past,
mountain men would cook their
stolen meat in sealed
A delicious vegetable that
potato type of root vegetable.
It has a magnificent texture and
has a fascinating taste. You
cannot cut it with a knife when
preparing it as it becomes
slimy, so you have to break it
into pieces before cooking. It
is often served with a tomato
sauce and is well worth trying.
pastry triangle stuffed with red
pumpkin, cracked wheat and
Delicious small white loaf,
smothered with sesame seeds, and
sometimes some caraway or anise.
Comes in ring shapes or easily
An amber-coloured sweet
wine made in the
Commandaria region of
on the foothills of the
Commandaria is made from
sun-dried grapes of the
* Koupepia: Dolmades:
These are rolled vine leaves
stuffed with meat and rice,
especially good when prepared
with the spring leaves of young
Cigar shaped savouries,
containing meat, onions and
parsley surrounded in a thin,
crispy layer of crushed bulgar
wheat. Eat with a wedge of lemon
that you squeeze into the top.
* Kritharaki /Youvetsi:
Kritharaki, Orzo or Rice-shaped
Pasta is used in Cypriot Cookery
to make Youvetsi where it is
cooked in the oven absorbing the
flavour of the lamb and sauce
ingredients. It also
makes tasty pasta meal base when
boiled with sauce ingredients.
Alternatively, try Kritharaki or
Orzo Pasta as an alternative to
A spinach type leaf, but with a
thicker white stalk. Often
cooked with black eyed beans in
a kind of stew.
* Local Fruits &
Vegetables: Formozes, Mosfila,
Local Fruit shop
Local Cypriot Fruit
* Loukanika Krasata:
Loukanika is the Greek word for
pork sausage, usually somewhat
dried. There are a variety of
sausages, but perhaps the best
known is flavoured with fennel
seeds and orange peel. Loukanika
is often served at a
mezze, sliced and fried. It
is also used in the cooking of a variety of
Loin of pork, smoked and
marinated. Delicious with
koulouri. Buy from a
* Makaronia tou Fournou:
A baked dish, rather like
macaroni cheese with a layer of
spiced meat in the middle and
white sauce on top.
Meze for short, or little
delicacies, appear in some form
or other wherever you travel
throughout Cyprus. Share a meze
in Cyprus and you have tasted
the true flavours of the island,
for you may be served up to 30
dishes. It is a complete meal,
but beware, don't be tempted to
finish every dish that arrives
on the table, or you may feel as
though you've eaten for a week
by the end! Do as the Cypriot's
do and enjoy your meze, 'siga
siga' or slowly, slowly.
Firstly you will be served
olives, with a dressing of
lemon, garlic, herbs, coriander
seeds and oil. After that dips
such as tahini, skordalia,
taramasalata and tzantziki will
arrive with a basket of fresh
village bread and a bowl of
village salad. Some more unusual
meze dishes would include
'octapodi krasato' - octopus in
red wine, 'zalatina' -
brawn and pickled capers or
cauliflower. Vegetables tossed
in oil and bound with egg are
often served at this next stage.
Some kind of fish will often be
served next, such as 'kalamari',
which is rings of squid ,
battered and deep fried. Grilled
'halloumi' cheese and 'lountza'
- smoked pork, come next,
followed by 'keftede' -
meatballs , the popular
'seftalia' - grilled pork
rissoles and 'loukanika' -
the smoked Cyprus sausage.
Once you have eaten all of this,
dishes such as 'afelia' - pork
cooked in red wine and crushed
coriander seeds, moussaka -
layers of aubergines or
courgettes, potatoes, minced
meat and white sauce and
'stifado' - beef stew with
onions will be served. Towards
the end of the meal come the
kebabs or 'souvlakia', the
kleftico' - baked lamb from the
oven and grilled chicken. You
have now eaten most of your
meze, but fresh fruit and
perhaps a few sugar dredged
'bourekia' - pastry filled with
soft cheese or honey will
complete your meal!
Lentils, rice and fried onions.
Oven cooked dish with layers of potatoes,
aubergine, meat and white sauce.
* Olive Oil:
oil is believed to be responsible for the
good health and longevity of the people who
consume it for organic oil visit
Sheep's brain soup. Sometimes
including the bonus of the
skull! Prized locally especially
in the villages.
A nut brittle made from carob
* Palouzes and
palouzes and the
soutzoukos are two of the most popular
sweets of Cyprus. You will usually find them
in villages that produce grapes.
The process of
making soutzoukos involves two
basic steps. The first step is to make the must
jelly. First, must is
extracted from good
quality grapes. As soon as the must is
extracted, it is placed in a large bronze
container (called chartzin or kazani) which
resemble a big cauldron. The must is then
heated slowly. A special kind of white soil,
called asproi is then added to the boiling
must to assist in the removal of impurities
from the must. A very small amount of asproi
is added in the boiling must, causing the
impurities to rise on the surface where they
are collected and removed. Once the
cleansing process is complete the must is
left to cool down. Next, the flour is added
to the must while stirring and heating the
mixture. When the mixture gets to the right
consistency, judging by the rate of steam
bubbles and the fluidity of the mixture, it
is removed from the heat. The mix, called
palouzes, is now ready for dipping the
almond strings and make soutzoukos.
The next step is
the making of soutzoukos involves the
creation of strings of almonds (or walnuts),
which are dipped in the palouzes mixture and
are then left to dry. Firstly, the nuts are
shelled and dipped into water in order to
become softer. Once soft enough they are
strung using threads of about 2-3 meters
length. The strings are dipped in the
palouzes mixture until completely covered.
This process is repeated several times
(usually three times) until soutzoukos has
the desired thickness. Soutzoukos strings
are then left to dry for 5-6 days. They are
then ready for consumption or storage, even
though some people like to eat soutzoukos fresh.
* Pastourma: A
very spicy meat full of garlic and
coriander. Made from beef.
* Paphitiki Pissa:
A chewing gum made in Paphos
Unleavened bread, oval shaped
and flat. Warm it on a grill and it puffs up
ready for a kebab to be inserted.
Cracked wheat is steamed
together with some fried onions and chicken
stock to make a light and fluffy pilaf which
is always served with yogurt.
Roasted meat with potatoes
Round flattened loaf,
(large and small) of heavier bread. Delicious
when fresh, OK when a day old, best toasted
when 2 days old.
The “resi” was actually wheat. Young women
(accompanied with violins )usually prepared
this food. They carried it to
the old taps of the village and cleaned it
on the day before a wedding, as it was one
of the main wedding dishes.
It is actually a pilaf of
lamb and coarse wheat cooked in the broth of
chicken, pork and beef. The pieces of lamb
were put in large cauldrons and they were
braised on a low heat. Later on, the coarse
wheat was added. When the food was ready, it
was served to the guests. It was very
popular in Limassol and Paphos.
Souvla is a
popular dish from the island of Cyprus. It
consists of large pieces of meat cooked on a
long skewer over a charcoal barbecue.
souvlakia is a popular
consisting of small pieces of
meat and sometimes vegetables
grilled on a
It may be served on the skewer
for eating out of hand, in a
with garnishes and sauces, or on
a dinner plate, often with
potatoes. The meat is
in Cyprus, or in modern
due to the lower cost.
beef and onion stew that is
mildly sweet, sour and spiced
A blend of crushed sesame seed
paste, lemon juice, water,
garlic and olive oil, sprinkled
Taxinopitta is usually made with
a cinnamon dough which is then
spread with a sweet tahini dip.
It is then rolled and twisted
* Trachanas soup: The “trachanas” is a very popular soup in
Cyprus. It is delicious and very nutritious.
Its main ingredients are sour milk and
coarse wheat. A brief explanation of how it
is made is shown below.
The wheat is washed and then
it is ground on a quern. The grinding is
done by inverse rotation so that the seeds
are shelled and broken. When the procedure
is completed, the sour milk is poured in the
“chartzin” (large bronze vessel) with the
coarse wheat. The mixture is heated and
mixed until it becomes thick and creamy.
When it cools down, it is cut in balls and
put in the “tsestous” (dish made of straw)
until it becomes dry. These dried pieces are
kept in a cool place and they can be
preserved for a very long period.
Every time someone wants to
cook trachanas, they take some of these
small pieces and soak them in water for
some hours. Thereafter, they boil them in
broth. While boiling, you can add a little
bit of milk or small pieces of halloumi. The
trachanas is served hot with salt, pepper
In older times this soup was
very popular, especially for the cold winter
nights. The villagers also used to eat it
before they left for work at dawn. It is
still the favourite soup of the Cypriots.
Nowadays, you can find it in supermarkets.
(Wheat dry soup)
Tsamarella is a
traditional food. It consists of meat, usually
Goat, that is
salted and cured for preservation. The process
of preparation traditionally involves drying in
A yogurt, cucumber and mint dip
that you will find in most
restaurants served with tahini,
olives and salad.
derived from the word gelatine.
This dish is usually made with
pork’s head, ears and feet.
but some lean meat can be added.
The head, feet and tail are
cleaned and any hair on them is
scorched and shaved if
necessary. All these are boiled
with spices until tender and
then citrus juice and vinegar,
salt and some hot red peppers
and rosemary are also added.
After cooking all the meat
from the head is removed and is
put in earthen pots together
with the broth, which
forms into a jelly because of
the pectin created from the
animal parts and from the citrus
A thick layer of lard
forms on top, thus sealing it
and thus preserving it for a
- The Drink from Cyprus
Zivania is a traditional Cypriot drink known
as the local firewater spirit, that is made
in the mountains from Cyprus. It is a distilled clear
drink produced from the residue of grapes
that were pressed during the wine making
process and mixed with dry wines produced
from the local grape varieties of Cyprus. It
is also, a 70% proof alcoholic drink that
will burn the back of your throat once you
have drunk it. It is best to just knock it
back straight if you are drinking it without
anything else added to it. Drinking this it
will literally burn your throat, so it is
best to drink it very quickly!
Zivania has been produced in Cyprus since the
Republic of Venice ruled the island at the
end of the 14th century and since 2004,
Zivania has been protected under EU
regulations as a product unique to Cyprus.
Therefore, it cannot be produced in any other
country and it is marketed under it's
How Is It Made?
Zivania is made from mature healthy grapes
of the best quality. It is produced from
pomace, the residue of grapes that were
pressed during the wine making process mixed
with high-quality dry wines, all produced
from the local grape varieties of Cyprus.
Zivania is exclusively produced by the
distillation of the two indigenous
varieties, namely Mavro and Xynisteri.
Zivania may also be produced by other,
either local or imported varieties, but the
variety used must be distinctively indicated
on the label, for example as Zivania
Cabernet or Zivania Maratheftiko.
What Is It Used For?
Other than drinking Zivania, the Cypriots use
it for other purposes. It can be used to
treat wounds, massaging sore parts of the
body, as a remedy for colds, toothaches or
as a warming-up drink during winter months.
It can, also, be used for mosquito
protection and for mosquito bites.
Especially, good to drink if you have a sore
throat. It is drunk more in the villages of
the Troodos mountains. In the old times, the
main alcoholic drinks that Cypriots drank,
were wine and Zivania. Sometimes, cinnamon
was added to Zivania giving it a nice red
colour and a fine aroma and flavour. As
Zivania ages, it becomes better and more
aromatic. Aged Zivania was valued very
highly and was kept for consumption during
special occasions or as a treat for
visitors. Even nowadays, in some Cypriot
villages, visitors will be welcomed to a
home with Zivania, served together with
almonds, walnuts, loukoumi, soutzoukos or
small appetisers like loukaniko or lountza.
Zivania is best served ice-cold with a local
meze, soutzoukos or dried fruits and nuts.