I wrote a couple of posts about Cyprus these last few weeks and the next thing I wanted to talk about was the delicious Cypriot food. I booked a food tour with Cyprus Taste Tours on my first day in Larnaca, Cyprus. A tour I’ll remember for a long time and a great introduction to traditional Cypriot food.
You know by now that I love to take a food tour when I first visit a new destination. It’s the best way for me to find out a little about the city and its history as well as about the local food. Also, after taking a food tour, you’ll have a pretty good idea about where to eat and a few things to try in mind. It’s usually a great way to help the local business too because food tours will o take you to small places where locals eat and where you can taste authentic food.
A few tips about food tours
Before any food tour, try to have a light breakfast (or lunch). Showing up hungry will help you taste and enjoy everything. Usually, a food tour will have about 5 stops where you’ll try one or more different things.
Another important thing is to wear comfortable shoes. Even if you will probably not cover a large area, there is still enough walking involved. You’ll want to be able to enjoy it.
Choose a tour that runs in small groups. This way, you can actually hear what the guide has to say and ask a few questions.
Food in Cyprus
The geography influenced a lot the development of Cyprus throughout history. Many invaded the island to take over its riches and especially to conquer a strategic position in the Mediterranean. Being so close to the Middle East and Egypt but culturally connected to Greece also left its mark on the Cypriot food. You’ll find many of the Greek dishes you are used to in Cyprus. Also, middle eastern food and spices are very common in Cyprus. You might say it’s the best of both worlds in terms of food.
A Cypriot Food Tour in Larnaca
I found this small company, Cyprus Taste Tours, and booked a food tour for our first day in Larnaca, Cyprus. They offer quite a few options, food tours in the main cities of Cyprus, as well as themed mountain villages tours from each city.
Without further ado, let’s just get to the Cypriot food!
First stop, a Cypriot food classic
Koupes can be served as a meze or as street food in Cyprus. You can even serve it as finger food for a party. It is a dish made of minced meat and spices in a crust of bulgur wheat. It probably arrived in Cyprus with the Arab invasions because it’s a popular dish all across the Middle East, under different names like kibbeh or kofta.
We tasted koupes in a small restaurant by the sea, then walked through the old Turkish quarter and learned a little bit about the recent history of Cyprus.
Fresh local products for a delicious Cypriot snack
The next stop was on a terrace we could never have found on our own. I loved all the simple but effective details of the space. The combination of stone and greenery or flowers is always a winner in my opinion.
They only served delicious local products, like that aged Halloumi cheese, honey from the mountain villages in Cyprus, and rose syrup. What a feast!
Next, traditional homemade Cypriot food
Another place we couldn’t have found on our own. A small tavern, run by an elderly couple. A few tables, no menus, only one dish prepared daily. We were in for a treat because that day they had an eggplant dish. No meat, but a tasty meal that felt homemade, drizzled with plenty of local olive oil. It was so different from any food you can find in the touristy areas! I tasted authentic Cyprus in that dish.
We also got to try these fresh out of the oven flaounes filled with Cypriot cheese.
4th stop, a break
By this time we were already full so a little walking towards the city center was welcome. We visited a trendy bar, Alchemies where we had the choice between coffee or a liqueur.
Last one, a yummy pie
The last place we visited was a very cozy pastry shop. We tried the bougatsa, a traditional Greek pastry filled with vanilla custard. The bougatsa goes very well with coffee in the morning but I didn’t mind having it as a dessert either.
To wrap it up, the food tour in Larnaca took about 2 and a half hours and we tasted some amazing things that we couldn’t have found otherwise. I would gladly take any of the other tours in Cyprus on a future trip, I’m sure there’s a lot more to discover. A nice touch was a gift bag with some local goodies that we received from our guide.
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Did you ever take a food tour? Tell me where and if you liked it in the comments below.