No Cypriot village is complete without a traditional coffee shop, the ‘kafenio’ Its the most important place in the village, the central point of communication, a place to meet friends, to play ‘Tavli’, the Greek version of Backgammon or just pass time by drinking a Greek coffee, tea, fresh juice or a home-made fruit squash. Greek coffee is ordered ‘sketo’, ‘metrio’ or ‘glyko’. Here is how to make it.
Coffee is always served with a glass of cold water.
Each ‘kafenio’ has its own individual way of making coffee, so be to be sure of what you will receive, it is best to state the number of sugars you want whilst ordering!
In case you are invited to someone’s house to drink a coffee, don’t be surprised if they turn their cups upside down onto the saucer after drinking the coffee. There are some people that say they can read your future from the coffee drains. Don’t be afraid to let them do it... it’s a nice way to start some small talk, and of course it depends on you how seriously you take the predictions!
A Cyprus Meze is certainly one of the most famous Cypriot delicacies. Or to put it another way: Mezedes are a great number of different Cypriot delicacies. Eating a Meze is one of the ‘musts’ on any visit to Cyprus, and is a great guide to understanding the Cypriot mentality. Take your time and share a Meze with friends; don’t be surprised at how long it takes and how much food is offered, ‘siga, siga!’ ‘Slowly, slowly!’ as they say in Cyprus. Mezedes can include up to 20-30 dishes! Its a great way to enjoy a friend’s company, have a few drinks and last but not least enjoy the many different tastes of Cyprus that a ‘Meze’ includes.
You should not miss the opportunity to eat Mediterranean fish in one of the many fish restaurants that you can find near the coast. There are lots of delicious fish dishes to discover, grilled or fried, salty or sour, spicy or plain. In many cases there will be no menu, the waiter will tell you about the catch of the day and how it will be prepared.
In the mountain areas delicious freshwater fish can be ordered. Did you ever try a Cypriot trout?
One of the memories of a trip to Cyprus will no doubt include the famous cocktail the ‘Brandy Sour’. As the name implies, a ‘Brandy Sour’ is the successful ‘union’ of two local specialties, Cyprus Brandy and lemon squash (made from Cyprus lemons). Add some drops of angostura bitters, top up with soda water and ice cubes...and enjoy a pleasant summer cocktail! Cheers!
Yemista are stuffed vegetables all kinds, favourites in every Cypriot family. Especially in summertime you will appreciate the interesting taste of this Mediterranean speciality. You can order the great number of stuffed vegetables as starters or as main dishes. They can be hot or cold. Served.
The famous stuffed wine-leaves are called "Koupepia". Not only children do fight for the last one!
Also tasty are stuffed peppers, tomatoes, onions, courgettes, aubergines or stuffed petals from courgettes.
The filling is made with rice and grated tomatoes. However the cook likes minced meet and different spices like parsley or mint can be added.
Barbecues are very popular in Cyprus. „Souvla" can be translated with „skewer". Souvla are mainly pieces of Lam or Chicken, grilled on charcoal grill The Cypriots love their Souvla and there can always be a reason to be invited for.
Another tasty dish from the charcoal grill are the small sausages of minced meat, called „Shiftalies". Maybe you will try to find out the secret of that special taste, if you try them for the first time. It is not the parsley or the onions that are ingredients, it is ...Why doesn't you try by yourself?
Nowadays "Kleftiko" is a typical dish for every single celebration. It is a piece of lamb or goat wrapped in foil and baked in special ovens, that in any case must be closed airtight, until the Kleftiko will be baked.
The origin of this dish, as history tells us, goes back to the Cypriot freedom fighters of the 19th.Century that lived in the mountain. They had to prepare their stolen meat, the Kleftiko, neither that some could smell it, nor that it could be seen. Though they baked it closed in special earthenware pottery, that they had buried under the ground...
The famous "Mousakas" for sure will be find on every menu. It is a typical summer meal and can be eaten warm or cold. Mousakas is prepared with potatoes or/and courgettes and aubergines, and covered with a tasteful cream. Some vegetarians might be lucky; there are some restaurants that also serve "Mousakas vegetarian" though it is not made with the traditional sauce of minced meat.
The mild Mediterranean climate of Cyprus produces rich wheat and allows it to brew light beer (of high quality). There are two breweries in the Republic of Cyprus established: KEO, the Cypriot brewery and the world known Carlsberg brewery.
However, a good wine makes also a good Brandy. The Cyprus Brandy is popular because of its mild taste. Pure or in long drinks, not only experts will enjoy it. It also makes the famous "Brandy Sour" to the specialty that it is. Did you know that it is tradition to offer Brandy to the wedding guests?
Cyprus wine has been produced for thousands of years and since the time of the Crusades it has also been exported to Europe. ‘Commandaria’ has enjoyed a reputation as a fine dessert wine since the 12th century. Today wine is one of the most important exports of Cyprus.