Beyond the sun-soaked stretches of sand, Cyprus has a lot to offer – including a delicious cuisine boasting both signature Greek and Turkish influences in its dishes and flavours.

Whether you’re sharing a generous mezze platter, sampling foraged delicacies, or indulging in a tempting sweet treat, the island has plenty of culinary delights to offer. Here are 10 of the best traditional foods to sample when visiting Cyprus.


Mezze

A traditional selection of hot and cold tasting plates designed for sharing, meze is basically Cyprus’s equivalent to tapas. A meze platter could include Mediterranean specialities including assorted dips with pitta bread for dipping and small dishes of fish, meat, and vegetables.


Halloumi

Halloumi is a delicious semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk. Halloumi is probably Cyprus’ most famous product, with its popularity extending to many countries around the world. Its high melting point means it can be easily fried or grilled.


Souvla and souvlaki

A spin-off from the famous Greek dish, the Cypriot-style souvla and souvlaki consist of small chunks of meat skewered and grilled on the spit or barbequed over charcoal. Souvla refers to larger chunks of meat, whereas souvlaki is the traditional kebab.


Sheftalia

Souvlaki is usually accompanied by sheftalia – minced pork sausages, more like meatballs (wrapped in intestine lining), grilled, and served with salad in oval-shaped pitta bread.


Kleftiko

Kleftiko is slow-cooked lamb shank served on the bone with sliced potatoes and is traditionally cooked in outdoor earthenware ovens – although nowadays it is also roasted in kitchen ovens. It gets its name from the word “stolen”, as historically people would steal meat and bury it to be slow-cooked in covered holes in the ground, so that no smoke would give away the location of the thieves.


Ravioles

Ravioles are part of the culinary legacy left by the Venetians who ruled Cyprus from 1489 to 1571. Similar to Italian ravioli, these tasty pasta parcels are stuffed with halloumi cheese and simmered in chicken broth.


Kolokasi

Kolokasi – or taro – has been grown in Cyprus since Roman times and is a very popular food across the island, especially during the winter as it’s a thick and substantial vegetable. It is typically simmered with pork or chicken in a sauce of caramelised tomatoes, onions, and celery.


Louvi

Louvi is a simple and healthy dish that mainly consists of black-eyed beans and is a staple in every Cypriot kitchen. Many households eat the dish on Mondays and Tuesdays as a cultural and religious trait that has been passed down through generations.


Pastelaki

Pastelaki is a delicious sticky toffee or nut brittle made from carob bean juice and pressed with peanuts – somewhat resembling a cereal bar.


Loukoumades

Loukoumades are mini doughnuts that are served sizzling hot and straight out of the frying pan, often soaked in honey and then coating them generously in crushed nuts, sesame seeds, and cinnamon.


Getting there

Various airlines offer daily flights from London to Paphos and Larnaca. The cheapest tickets are available approximately 60 days before departure, with evening flights from Stansted offering the best prices on the route.

For a hassle-free trip to Cyprus, remember to pre-book an airport transfer, taxi, or rental car through hoppa to get you to your accommodation. Hoppa is the world’s top specialist in smooth, reliable transportation, comparing 1,000s of transport providers from around the world to get you where you need to go. Whether at home or abroad, with choices of taxis, car hire, and airport transfers, we search and compare the best deals so you arrive happy.


Planning a trip to Cyprus, or do you have any suggestions we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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