Cyprus is famous for its scenic coastline and balmy weather, but the island has another string to its bow – cuisine. From delicious mezze and succulent lamb kleftiko, to superb island-made wines, there’s plenty for foodies and wine connoisseurs to discover here. We’ve selected five of our favourite ways to get a taster of Cypriot cuisine, available at Anassa, Hotel Almyra and Annabelle Hotel (all part of the family-run Thanos Hotel Group).
Torchlit barbecue on the beach
Each week, the fine-shingle beach in front of Anassa is transformed into an al fresco dining venue, with lounge-worthy seating and torchlit tables dressed in white linens. The occasion? The hotel’s weekly beach barbecue, where a guitarist and bouzouki player serenade diners as they tuck in to freshly grilled meat and seafood.
Cypriot baking masterclass
Learn the art of baking at a two-hour masterclass hosted at Annabelle Hotel. Under the supervision of the hotel’s talented chefs, you’ll create and bake delicious breads and pastries, including traditional Cypriot recipes like cheese-filled flaounes. Go hungry, as you’ll get to eat all your tasty baked goodies once they’re ready. For a little extra, you can combine your class with a trip to a local monastery and winery.
An evening of Cypriot food & culture
For an evening of Cypriot food, music and dancing, look no further than the weekly celebration in Anassa’s ‘village square’. Set up around the atmospheric Byzantine chapel of Saint Athanasia, the celebrations involve a buffet spread of traditional Cypriot dishes, live music and folk dancing. The chefs at Anassa make their own Cypriot cheese, so be sure to try a slice or two – perhaps drizzled with local honey infused with flowers from the hotel’s garden.
Private wine and cheese tasting
Cypriot wine isn’t particularly well known, but the island’s wine-making heritage is actually one of the oldest in the world. At the Hotel Almyra’s private wine tasting, you’ll sample seven different Cypriot wines. Each will be handpicked by the wine cellar master and poured by a knowledgeable sommelier who can talk you through what you’ll be tasting, whether it’s a red made from ancient maratheftiko grapes or a sweet Commandaria from the Troodos Mountains.
Mezze is a staple of Greek and Cypriot cuisine – small dishes and snacks perfect for sharing over a glass of wine or two. At Hotel Almyra’s Greek cooking class, you’ll get to roll up your sleeves and create a selection of mezze dishes under the guidance of an expert chef. Once you’re done, you’ll sit down for dinner (including your mezze) and two local wines. Not a fan of Greek cuisine? There’s a class in the intricate art of preparing sushi, too.
A little about the hotels…
Anassa, part of the Leading Hotels of the World group, is a hillside spa retreat close to the fishing village of Latchi. The selection of restaurants includes a candlelit cavern serving gourmet Asian cuisine and a fine-dining venue with a menu of French-Mediterranean dishes.
Hotel Almyra and Annabelle Hotel sit side by side on the waterfront in Paphos. The Almyra boasts design-led interiors and a fantastic spa with infinity pool, while Annabelle has more of a classic feel, with a lagoon-like pool winding through flower-filled gardens.