By Nivi Shrivastava

The Republic of Cyprus is a beautiful island country located in the Eastern Mediterranean and is surrounded by countries like Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt, which influence the delish food and culture of this popular tourist destination. Recently, we were invited by the High Commissioner with the Republic of Cyprus to experience the delish Cypriot cuisine and wines at the Ottimo, ITC Maurya hotel — and, we were totally floored by the hospitality and culture of the hosts.

The Cyprus food festival was organized in the hotel for a week, and the chefs Aimilios Aslanis and Katerina Fragkopoulou were specially flown to the capital to prepare some interesting seafood, desserts, and bread from their country for the daily buffet. Just like Indian cuisine the Cypriot cuisine is also a mix of very many cultural influences. The rich and healthy food from Cyprus will certainly remind you of Greek and Turkish cuisine; and if you explore it further you’ll be able to figure out the flavours of Byzantine, French, Italian, Catalan, Ottoman, and Middle Eastern cuisines very clearly.

The food from Cyprus has a lot to offer in terms of variety as we sampled a platter of grilled vegetables and almost 5 kinds of salads that were prepared using fresh vegetables dressed with lemon, olive oil and cheese based dips. Some of the popular salads served with every meal includes potatoes, celery leaves. stalks, parsley, coriander leaves, tomatoes, and cucumber. Stuffed and baked aubergines, potatoes, artichokes, tomatoes and orka are also very popular items in this cuisine. Jacket potatoes, which is prepared using salt, cumin, oregano, and some finely sliced onion and is one of the most liked items among local people.

Apart from greens, the cuisine also focuses heavily on a varitey of seafood and poultry items. Since it is an island nation, a wide variety of sea animals like snapper, calamari, cuttlefish, red mullet, sea bass and salt cods are commonly served as fish souffle and fish croquettes in a meze platter. Among meats, one can find pork, lamb and chicken cooked in rich gravy and oilve oil mixed with local herbs are spices. These dishes are served with hummus, pita bread and homemade pasta.

For desserts, the Cypriots prepare traditional sweets that prepared using local fruits like figs, tiny aubergines, walnuts, watermelon or pumpkins soaked in syrups. Loukoumades (fried doughballs in syrup), loukoum, ravani, tulumba and baklava are some of the famous desserts that can be found along with a creamy pasties, cookies and cakes.

The best thing about this exotic cuisine is that it caters to all kinds of foodies, so whether you are a meat lover or a bonafide vegan — the variety of food items in Cyprus will always be plenty for you. And, if you love wines then you must definitely visit the country to go on the beautiful wine treks that will bring you closer to nature and fill your heart with joy. The country is known for its beautiful beaches, lively people, wellness resorts and wonderful food and beverages, so if you want a fabulous vacation in 2019 this is where you need to go.

The wines routes of Cyprus are some of the most scenic trails in the island nation