In previous articles, we talked about gifts from Cyprus (part 1, part 2), which can be stored for a long time without special conditions (alcohol, oils, sweets) – put in a suitcase and after 2 weeks nothing will happen. They were also heavily advertised or “pop” Cypriot goodies that you can always buy all of this even in Duty Free before boarding the plane.
In this article, we’ll talk about perishable traditional delicacies or edible gifts that have a twist and can only be found in local stores. You can buy these delicacies 1-2 days before departure and they will pleasantly surprise you upon returning home (or please your loved ones as an authentic gift).
3 most popular appetizer sauces
In many restaurants in Cyprus, before serving the main course, you will be served hot pita bread and a plate with a variety of sauces, salads and pickles. Guests of Cyprus can always take their favorite sauces with them so that the memories of the vacation will delight for a long time – a great addition to any host’s arsenal!
Below are three of the most popular and delicious Cypriot sauces that you can buy at any store. We prefer to take these sauces “by weight”, usually sold in the cheese and sausage department – they are fresher and tastier than from the refrigerator. If you buy someone as a gift, you can also find beautiful packaging for long-term storage, as in the picture below. It’s delicious and affordable products – price per unit 400 gr is rarely more than 2-3 €.
- Tahini (ταχίνι). A popular sauce with a relatively neutral or slightly bitter taste, the main ingredient of which is tahini paste (grated sesame seeds). Probably the most versatile sauce for the variety of combined dishes (bread, potatoes, pasta, meat, fish, etc.) and definitely our favorite of all Cypriot ones. Learn more on Wikipedia.
- Taramasalata (ταραμοσαλάτα). A very peculiar sauce-pate based on smoked cod caviar, because of which it has a pleasant spicy taste and a delicate beige or pinkish color. Due to the taste of smoked caviar, not everyone may like it. Learn more on Wikipedia.
- Dzatziki or talaturi (τζατζίκι). The basis of this sauce is sheep yogurt, to which grated cucumber and garlic are added. This combination of ingredients gives the sauce a fresh and vibrant flavor. I can’t say that we really like it, but in general, it turns out well with other dishes. You may also know this sauce by the name: tzatziki. Learn more on Wikipedia.
Sweet tahini roll
Tahini roll or Tahinopita (ταχινόπιττα) is a traditional sweet Cypriot pastry. One of its main ingredients is tahini paste, and, of course, carob syrup is used to add sweetness. Tahinopita has a spiral shape, which forms crispy edges during the baking process. I just love this pie and eat almost half with one cup of tea. In the Papantoniou store, it is sold for 1.86 € per pie. Learn more on Wikipedia.
Anari soft sheep cheese
Anari (αναρή) – obviously not as well-known cheese like halloumi, but certainly no less tasty. It is made from whey and resembles cottage cheese with cream in terms of density and taste. The shelf life is very short (less than 3-5 days), but the fresh and unusual taste will definitely not let this product linger in your refrigerator.
We also recommend buying this cheese “by weight” in the simplest plastic packaging – usually cylinders of 300-500 grams, which are packaged in the store from buckets brought in the morning by local farmers. We tried to take anari in its original packaging for long-term storage from different manufacturers, but in taste and freshness, nothing beats fresh anari from a nondescript plastic packaging, as in the picture below. The price of this cheese is usually 4-7 €. You can read more about the history of cheese and its preparation on Wikipedia.0