One of the must dos when you come to Cyprus is to experience a mezze – the meal that you need to bring a good appetite for, as it can last a good couple of of hours and consists of many, many dishes!
The lovely thing about a mezze is that there is something for everyone – if you don’t like one dish there is sure to be another that you love. But where are the best places to find a mezze?
The first step is to decide if you would like a fish mezze or a meat mezze. A fish mezze consists of all sorts of fish from crab cakes and shellfish to sea bass. A meat mezze covers everything from chicken to pork and lamb, and occasionally a speciality dish such as liver.
One of the best mezzes we have found are from a taverna in Agios Theodoros (about 15 minutes drive from Maroni ). The taverna is called To Vasano, and is a family run affair specialising in good home-style cooking. The portions are generous and as with all mezzes there is a lot of food on offer!
The taverna is in an old village property with beautiful vaulted and ribbed ceilings and quirky artefacts on the walls. The lighting is soft and sympathetic (unlike some more old-fashioned places where the strip-light holds sway), and in the winter there are open log fires burning. In the summer you can dine in the open courtyard overlooking the village square.
We went there the other night with some friends and we found that ordering 4 mezzes to be shared amongst 5 people gave us more than enough, and we even took some home for our friends’ dogs!
The mezze starts with salad, bread, olives and tahini, and then the hot dishes start coming thick and fast. Chicken grilled on the barbecue, loukanika sausages, lambs’ liver fried crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, pork casserole (afelia), lamb chops and herby sausages called sheftalia. Side dishes of courgette and deliciously crispy chips made by hand from Cyprus potatoes made the perfect accompaniments.
To Vasano also have some very nice wines on offer, and the whole meal cost us around £20 per person. It was a delicious bargain!