31 August 2010 09:08

The cuisine of Cyprus has been formed by the island’s rich and varied history, as well as its geographical location and climate.
Being a Mediterranean island, the traditional food of the island was extremely healthy, with plenty of vegetables and fish and a minimum of red meat.
As the island became more prosperous, however, meat stopped being something you ate only on a Sunday and became a more regular part of the diet.
One of the most common Cypriot meals that a tourist is likely to encounter is the meze, short for mezedes.
This is a series of small dishes, usually starting with bread and olives and a chickpea dip called tahini.
The meal may then continue with grilled halloumi cheese, lountza (a smoked pork tenderloin),meatballs called  keftedes, sheftalia which are like a small spicy sausage and loukaniko or pork sausages.
Grilled meats,  kebabs, lamb chops, chicken – may be served toward the end. As you may guess, you need to pace yourself if you are not going to be full towards the end!
The barbecue (known in the villages as a foukou) is a popular way to prepare food on holidays and Sunday.
On Easter day, you will see the smoke of thousands of barbecues rising into the sky above the island.
Souvla, large chunks of lamb, pork or chicken, is the most popular ingredient here, along with halloumi grilled over the charcoal.
As an island, seafood is popular and there are hundreds of excellent fish restaurants, although these are a little more expensive than the other eateries.
Popular dishes include calamari, octopus, cuttlefish, red mullet (known as barbouni), sea bass (lavraki), and gilt-head bream (tsipoura)
Octopus, is often cooked in a stew with red wine, carrots, tomatoes, and onions. Calamari is usually cut into rings and fried in batter.
Cuttlefish (soupies) may be cooked like calamari or like octopus in red wine with onions. 
 Whatever your taste, you really should try traditional Cypriot food at least once on your visit. With a chilled bottle of local wine or an ice cold Cypriot beer, it can truly be a feast you will remember. 
Here we offer you some local recipes that you can try at home.