There’s always food when I visit home.
The fridge is full with left over dinner, vegetables, sandwich fillings and whatever else you can imagine, there’s something freshly made in the oven or on the hob and plenty of snacks if you are just feeling peckish. But every time I go, I make time to try the countless cafes, bakeries, tavernas and restaurants this little island has in abundance. Hope you have a snack in hand because this will quite possibly make you hungry.
A typical summer breakfast can vary, from just halloumi and watermelon, toast, halloumi and lountza in pita bread accompanied by freshly cut tomatoes and cucumber, olives, fried eggs and the list goes on but what I particularly love is an ice cold frappe and warm, fresh pastries from the bakery (you can literally find one in every corner). Again the fillings can vary from spinach and feta to chicken, olives or if you have a sweet tooth, tahini and have I mentioned halloumi?
Since we were on holiday I couldn’t resist. A local traditional bakery was only a 5 minutes drive, To Prozymi and it did not disappoint.
I will not even attempt to list what you can have for lunch but there’s something for everyone, from delicious salads to souvlaki, or if you are feeling very hungry and you don’t mind the heat, casserole dishes are always on offer. The little sister and I tried a new cafe in the Nicosia city centre, a bit hidden, called Zest and oh my, it was a-m-az-ing. Beautiful, minimal decor and the food was I kid you not, to die for. Unique recipes, beautifully executed. We had the juicy, mouth watering courgette and chicken burgers in warm pita bread topped with yogurt dressing served with fresh salad and a slice of their superb raspberry and hazelnut cake.
You can’t visit Cyprus and not have a souvlaki. On our short break in Protaras I had a delicious chicken souvlaki at the Butchery and Co Grillhouse. I also got to try their cheese stuffed sausage. Extremely unhealthy but finger licking. It is hard to find a decent restaurant in a highly touristy area but the food there was reasonably priced and very tasty. Definitely worth a try.
And of course you cannot not visit a taverna and indulge in a huge amount of scrumptious Cypriot meze, our version of tapas. On a family outing, on a warm Monday evening, we visited Louis Tavern in Nicosia, a little cute restaurant in the Pallouriotissa area and we loved every dish. Kefte, halloumi, paidakia (ribs), chicken and pork souvlaki, liver, mushrooms, fried courgette and eggs, halloumi, tzatziki, salads, the whole lot. And for dessert, traditional sweet, syrup-y pastries and fruit. Each taverna do their own meze with different dishes, so you may get different variety depending where you go.
Lemonade and halva in the mountains
After a beautiful afternoon walk in picturesque Kalopanayiotis (post coming soon) we were feeling a bit peckish so we sat at the first place we found. A gorgeous hotel and spa with a restaurant and cafe area overlooking the mountains. What an amazing view. And what an incredible place. We were unsure whether to stay there for a drink, we felt under-dressed, not worthy to be in such a scenery. But the waiters were so sweet, they made us feel welcome from the first moment we walked in.
Traditionally decorated to keep with the feel and the beauty of the little village is situated in but with a touch of luxury, Casale Panayiotis won my heart.
I fancied something sweet and I went for halva, but not any halva, oven baked with dates and little pieces of spoon sweet. A posh version of Cypriot halva. It was unbelievable. It went nicely with my fresh lemonade. Sweet and Sour. How not to.
This is just a tiny flavour of the local cuisine. There’s more, much much more and every opportunity I get I’ll introduce you to it.