Nurtured by the warm Mediterranean sun, Cyprus fruit and vegetables grow to a size and quantity guaranteed to delight the most demanding palates The trees laden with citrus, and the acres of grapes. particularly on the southern Troodos slopes, are the beginning of the story. The markets and many roadside stalls are a feast of colour, with fruit of every variety, size and hue. Ripe, juicy, tasty, ready for eating and very inexpensive. These include apples, pears, melons, watermelons, plums, figs, strawberries and cherries to mention but a few.
And the same goes for the island's vegetables. Everyone knows the superlative Cyprus potato - so tasty and ideal for chips - but there are giant, shiny aubergines, massive red tomatoes, fat lettuces, elongated carrots, plump atrichokes, delectable avocadoes and many more.
The gastronomic pleasures of Cyprus should be savoured at an unhurried pace, to discover new flavours and sample the many traditional dishes. And what better way to learn than to follow local custom with a typical “meze” - meaning mixture which is usually a little of everything that is available that day in that taverna or restaurant.
As many as thirty dishes may form the meze starting with dips, salads and vegetables, advancing to hot dishes - including such favourites as Moussaka and kebabs as well as tasty local casseroles, fresh fish and chicken - and finishing with sweets like Baklava and loucoumades. Cyprus wines, inexpensive and plentiful, make a good accompaniment to this exotic and lingering repast, and a Cyprus coffee in a tiny cup, ordered according to sweetness desired is a fitting finale with a local brandy.
Besides this typically Cypriot type of meal a visitor offered versatility. There are plenty of charming fish tavernas by the sea and numerous restaurants serving Chinese, Arabic, European and Indian food.
There are literally thousands of tavernas to choose from all over Cyprus each one offering a friendly welcome and a relaxed atmosphere. At some there is bouzouki music, and the visitor will soon realise how Cypriots enjoy their local songs -it doesn't take long before they join in, always with gusto and appreciation. It is in this ambience that he may bt lucky enough to take part in a "glendi - a spontaneous celebration involving eating, drinking, singing and dancing . “Kopiaste!'' someone will beckon to a complete stranger, meaning: come and join in - come and share our food, our drink, our fun.
Over 100 varieties of grapes, plumped to perfection, yield the fortified and table wines whlch Cyprus is famous for and which can be traced back over 3.000 years. Sherrics, wines, brandies and liqueurs, which have been enjoyed through the centuries, will compliment any meal all at very reasonable prices.
A cool, refreshing long drink is the local Brandy Sour, a tangy concoction that goes down remarkably well and tends to have addictive qualitles; others prefer the clean taste of Ouzo, a local cousin of Pernod or Ricard which turns white and cloudy when mixed with water. And two breweries on the island offer beer that’s light and perfectly matched to the Cyprus climate.
Nightlife on the island caters to every mood and every age. There are trendy discos and sophisticated nightclubs. There's ample opportunity to dine and dance romantically under the stars; and thetr's plenty of local atmosphere and liveIy fun when the spirited Greek dancing gets going . There's even the chance of seeing a Shakespearean play or a Greek drama performed in an ancient theater by the light of a Cyprus fuII moon.