Creativity and diversity, aims for the future of Cypriot cuisine

Posted on 2011/01/10 by


A culinary interest between the old and new, the future of Cypriot Cuisine means also playing freely with it.

exploring the cyprus kitchen

On the trail of world cuisine appreciation, Cyprus is a place where enduring culinary traditions have resisted more that the test of time. At first glance and part of it’s essence lies in how lively the table can be dressed up;  There is nothing like a personal encounter with social Cyprus around the table as Kevin experienced while in Cyprus:

I’ve never been to a place where the table is so lively or where the people know how to eat so well—and so much—as Cyprus. On one of my first days here, I was invited to a birthday celebration at a village taverna in the Troodos mountains. Thirty or so family members had gathered for a lunch that would be my first experience with Cypriot meze, which I can only describe as a relentless bombardment of small dishes that continues long after you’ve loosened your belt. By my count we were 30 or so courses into this meal when a break came and I turned to the person sitting next to me and said, “I can’t remember the last time I ate that much.” His response: “They haven’t even brought the main courses yet!”

Any cultural sensibility raised the question of  how such strong traditions in the kitchen and around the table can be resilient despite the island’s historical influences.

As the stories abound in restaurants, once could also suggest that it may be actually because of history that  these food traditions actually persisted. Today however, Cypriot cuisine gets its influence from French techniques in luxury hotels for tourists, through chefs with influences from culinary schools across Europe with training in Paris, London, or Moscow and where the palpable sense of history at the table is handled by multicultural diversity in the kitchen from Egypt, India, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria are all represented—a reminder that Cyprus is only too close to Europe and its multicultural future.

As extracted from Kevin’s account, we concur that it is the languages practiced in the kitchen, with English that of the clientele; then Cypriot, that of the staff; and then French, that of the food, Mise en place, tomate concassé, jus, and brunoise – a whole culinary vocabulary for a menu of recipes, culinary techniques and bases that play and is distilled onto Cypriot dishes. One can only anticipate that traditional dishes like,  melitzanokeftedes, eggplant meatballs, stuffed grape leaves, called dolmades, and grilled octopus, are exposed to a potential of creativity in cooking that decidedly can bring lots for the future of Cypriot cuisine, provided that cooks are given the space to play with the elements at hand.

More on the account can be found at: The Geography of Full

Posted in: authenticity