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Cyprus – Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Cypriot Cuisine HistoryEdit

Cyprus is situated in the South-Western part of Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea. The relief of Cyprus includes both mountains and fields and the agriculture is mainly focused on rice, potatoes, grape vines and citrus fruits, which are intensively used in the local cuisine. The Cypriot cuisine is very representative for the exotic Mediterranean cuisine (various herbs and spices, olive oil, smoked and marinated meats, light garnishes and exotic dips), due to the strategic position of the country, at the intersection of Europe and Middle East. Also, Cyprus is located between Greece and Turkey, which are both countries with very strong and personalized cuisines. These 2 cuisines interacted with the Cypriot cuisine through time and now, there are many Cypriot dishes that come from the Greek meals (Greek salads, spicy dips and minced meats or smoked fishes) and Turkish foods (the Turkish dessert delights, like lokum jelly or highly sweet baklava and various kebabs).

Cuisines of Cyprus Edit

There are 2 main regional cuisines when discussing the Cypriot culinary culture. In the Northern part of the country, the most significant cuisine is the Turkish one and in the Republic, the Greek cuisine is more accentuate. In the Northern part of Cyprus, there are many sweet pastries and jellies and Turkish coffee is the favorite drink and it includes a variety of styles, like sade or orta. The Greek dishes have their own Italian, Balkan and Middle Eastern influences, which include fish and lamb dishes, olive oil and various Mediterranean herbs. Some of the dishes that are generally specific to Cyprus are kleftiko (lamb meal) and mezedes (delicacies and appetizers). In the capital of Nicosia, the variety of dishes is very wide, as it includes the most important cuisines: Greek and Turkish, but also Lebanese cuisine, French food (a variety of cheese and wine), Indian, Italian and Chinese cuisines with all their special dishes.

Preparation Methods for Cypriot Cooking Edit

Cypriot cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes. While there are no specific or unique preparation methods for Cypriot cooking, we should point out that attention to detail is important in the Cypriot cuisine. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential – either for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. The diversity of vegetables and cereals found in Cyprus is also noticed in the delicious dishes belonging to their cuisine. The visual attractiveness of the dish is also important, and a balance between colors and proportion differentiates. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Cyprus’s regions. Meat is one of the main elements of most Cypriot dishes and cured and smoked hams are often parts of delicious dishes.

Special Equipment for Cypriot Cooking Edit

Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Cypriot cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Cypriot dishes. You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Cypriot food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking "arsenal".

Cypriot Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

On special occasions and celebrations, the Cypriot people enjoy the meze or special delicacies and also eat traditional dishes, such as the mousakka, which contains minced beef or pork meat, eggplant, béchamel sauce and potatoes and the souvlakia, which is basically a kebab with pork, lamb or chicken. Traditional dishes also include the kolokasi, which are similar to sweet potatoes and cooked with olive oil and the taramosalata, which contains fish roe with a puree dip, made of mile, onion and parsley. The Mayeritsa soup is the traditional Easter soup for both Greek and Cypriot people. Mayeritsa is made with the remaining parts from the lamb (which is served roasted as main course). Basically, the soup contains lamb on the bone (lungs, liver, heart and head), onion, celery, parsley, beaten eggs, rice, cornstarch, milk, lemon and pepper.

People in Cypriot Food Edit

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There are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking method for traditional Cypriot dishes and create original and delicious food variations. Cypriot chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who have never tasted them before. Whether they are cooking dishes that go back in time for centuries or brand new, modern dishes, Cypriot chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking.

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