Today, Paphos is a welcoming and vibrant town, and an important tourist destination with four major resorts, including Kato Paphos. The others are Coral Bay, Latchi, and Aphrodite Hills. There is much to see in the town, including Paphos Castle, built to defend the harbor, the vaults of the Tombs of the Kings, Roman temples and Christian catacombs.
Have you ever been to a cuisine before? Well, one of the delights of any visit to Cyprus is the cuisine. The cuisine of Paphos, not unlike the region itself, is made up of numerous influences; while Greek may be the most obvious, there are also Middle Eastern, Italian and French influences amongst others. The fusion of the flavors and aromas that all these regions offer results in a cuisine that is both familiar and exotic.
Many meals involve mezedes, a series of appetisers typically including olives, bread, salad, dressed greens and dips such as houmous, taromosalata (made from fish roe) and tzatziki (yoghurt and cucumber dip). Fish, grilled halloumi (a cheese made from goat and sheep milk), meatballs and sausages are also commonly served, while other meze dishes include dried salted meat, octopus, quail eggs and capers.
Seafood is, of course, big business in Paphos. Eating freshly caught fish as you sit by the sea, contemplating the expansive waters of the Mediterranean is an utterly different experience to that encountered in inland seafood restaurants, in towns with no fishing tradition. Cypriots bring their love of the sea and of fishing to their cooking, with simple, masterful preparations and delicately sublime flavours. Popular dishes involve fish such as red mullet, bream and sea bass, as well as squid, popularly in the form of calamari, and octopus, often served in a stew. Traditionally, fish was dried and salted, and dried salt fish such as cod and herring can still be enjoyed, though fresh fish is generally more prevalent.
Meat lovers will not be disappointed by Cypriot cuisine, either. Though traditionally meat was a treat for special occasions, it has long since entered the mainstream and there are many superb dishes to try; many of these involve preserved meats, especially pork. Typical dishes include lountza, wine marinated and smoked pork tenderloin; pasta, smoked and sun-dried pork; and pastourma, salted and spiced beef.
Whether you are eating seafood, meat or vegetable dishes, or just having a light snack or drink, the marina or the beaches at the resorts are amongst the most popular spots. And if you’re in the mood for a change of cuisine, there are various alternatives to Cypriot food, including other Mediterranean, Indian, Japanese and even American restaurants. Paphos is a cosmopolitan city as well as a traditional one, and nothing reflects this more than in the city’s acceptance and integration of different flavors and cuisines.
The resorts are a little way away from each other, and to travel between them. Make sure you research car hire services in Paphos before traveling. This will allow you to make the most of your stay and get to areas which you might otherwise miss.
Last but not least; make sure that you try the local ouzo and zivania – a potent grape distillate known as “fire water” – when you are back at your resort!
(Photo via www.pancoaches.com, edited)