For centuries, Cypriots have accompanied their drinks with meze – a large selection of delicacies consisting of many dishes with small helpings of delicious foods.Meze are a traditional feature of religious feast days, birthdays, weddings and name days. Feasting usually means endless eating, singing and joking, accompanied by wine and zivania, a strong spirit similar to vodka.
Served all over Cyprus,mezedes cover a broad range of some the best of local cuisine and can include up to 30 dishes. The feast begins with black and green olives, tahini,skordalia (potato and garlic dip), taramosalata(fish roe dip), and tsatziki, all served with a basket of fresh bread and a bowl of village salad. Some of the more unusual meze dishes that may be served include octopus in red wine, snails in tomato sauce, brains with pickled capers, kappari (capers) and moungra (pickled cauliflower). Bunches of greens, some raw, some dressed with lemon juice and salt, are a basic feature of the meze table. The meal continues with fish, grilled halloumi cheese,lountza (smoked pork fillet), keftedes (minced meatballs), sheftalia (pork rissoles)and loukanika (sausages).
It is then the turn of kebabs, lamb chops and chicken. The last dish to be served is fruit or the traditional preserved fruit glyko.Glyko is found in every home and is the first thing to be offered to a guest together with a glass of water.
Cypriot women continue to make glyko in the traditional way handed down from generation to generation and serve it with great pride.