Lonely Planet Writer

Cyprus promotes its famous Mediterranean diet with foodie trails

The Cyprus Virtual Food Museum is organising a series of field trips over the next couple of months to promote the island’s famous Mediterranean diet and anyone is welcome to take part.

Cypriot halloumi
Cypriot halloumi Image by Giia | Guldal Aydinli Follow / CC BY 2.0

The programme is called “Traditional Heritage Flavours: Culinary walks in the paths of the Mediterranean Diet” and through the three trails the participants will visit areas related to three key aspects of Cyprus’ gastronomy: wine, oil and wheat. The trips will be a combination of entertainment and education, all with the aim to familiarise people with the Cypriot culinary heritage which also forms part of its cultural identity. Food writer Florentia Kythreorou and a professional photographer will also take part in these trips, and a short documentary will be produced.

Kyrenia (Girne), Northern Cyprus. Image by greenacre8 / CC BY 2.0
Girne in Northern Cyprus. Image by greenacre8 / CC BY 2.0

The first trail starts on 8 October and its focus will be on wheat and products from wheat. It includes a visit to a traditional working mill and a workshop where participants will learn about bread making and the preparation of porridge made from wheat and goat’s milk. The second trail takes place on 22 October and is focused on wine and grape products. There will be a winery visit and tasting, as well as a short training course on pairing wine with food. The third trail begins on 12 November and its theme is olive oil and olive products. It will include a visit to a traditional olive mill where people can learn about the oil extraction process, followed by olive oil tasting and a course on making olive pastes.

Cypriot cuisine is varied and flavoursome. A typical foodie experience in Cyprus is meze  short for mezedes or ‘little delicacies’ – involving a number of small plates with often up to 30 different dishes to sample from. Across the island, the food combines the best elements of Greek and Turkish influences. Last year, Greek and Turkish Cypriots united to submit a joint application to the EU for the protected status of the famous local cheese known in the Greek part of the island as halloumi and in the Turkish part as hellim.