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Cyprus International Food Festival
 
Well, it was a tough job trying all those tempting flavours and sipping fine wine sat at each of the stalls, but hey...’ I guess somebody has to do it!

What a great excuse to ‘ditch the diet for the day’ and to eat and drink my way through the Cyprus International Food festival in Nicosia last weekend.

This years’ event literally had something for everyone! The temptation of the variety of foods on display were a unique experience, where guests had the opportunity to enjoy and discover some of the Cyprus’s finest wines, not to mention, tempt our taste buds by savouring the unique, delicious dishes famous on this island.

Discovering flavours that you had never savoured before, plus meet and learn from the variety of Chefs.

One of my favourites was the ‘South African Bobotie’ cooked by the lovely Tracey Dyer, which combined a spicy minced beef with fruits dish served with yellow raisin rice, and so it goes without more explanation that this colourful combo made my taste buds dance! The flavour was out of this world!

Hungarian Goulash was another mouth-watering experience, not to mention some great tips on Italian pasta dishes by Chef Lucia Grasso, who produced a wonderful pasta dish, fusing the flavours of zucchini, ricotta & parmesan cheeses with cream for one of her creations, Ohhhhh‘Mamma Mia’, it was exquisite!

I also discovered an amazing veggie burger from the Nicosia’s very own Olives&Burgers Healthy Cafe, made up of an amazing mix of tantalizing tasty vegetables, which was created by their own nutritionists that was guaranteed ‘Extraordinarily Energizing’! Amazing or what?

Whist wandering through this culinary experience, I glanced to one side of the room some excitement, so over I went to investigate.

Having fought my way through a crowd I discovered an array of displayed dried meats!

How could I not sample an array of Biltong, Drywors and Boerewors that had been marinated in a traditional South African recipe of spices, rock salt, pepper, coriander and vinegar where I met the lovely Georgiou family, consisting of Mum, Dad and son who were all there to offer samples of their delicious pieces of meats...flavour to savour! The best on the island!

Now for something really different...Microgreens and Edible Flowers, grown from organic seeds that are tiny versions of their mature counterparts, delicious and exploding with colour and flavour. The Manager, a very friendly Kat Costantinou was happy to chat with me and clipped off some samples for me to taste, I was not disappointed. Snow Pea, Cress, Rocket, Raddish and Mustard were a few, my favourites and the Snow Pea, reminded me of the leaves I used to pinch off from my Grandfather’s vegetable garden when I was very young girl, bringing back memories of when we ate from his garden for many years. Who could deny that all things fresh, organic and seasonal are always best?

Now, standing out like a landmark was a giant chocolate fountain with gallons of warm, delicious chocolate pouring down cascading temptingly. I have to confess to spoiling myself with marshmallows which I happily dunked into pools of the sumptuous chocolate……….who wouldn’t be in ‘heaven’?

What more could a real ‘food lover’ wish for? That perfect harmonious marriage of wine and food. I was delighted to meet various managers displaying their finest, I tasted some great wines. Gabriel from the French Depot was one of them, who when asked where his delicious cheeses were to compliment my wine, replied ‘everyone would leave from here because of the smell hahaha!’To which I agreed, knowing that French cheeses are not for those with delicate noses and recalled a time that I had purchased some for my best friend on a recent trip to Paris, despite all the wrapping I knew that you could still smell it like it was just under your nose, but hey, that is the joy of a wonderful product!

A certain Italian guy named Andrea Rossi became my best friend within 3 seconds after I saw a sign for ‘Prosecco Available on Draft!’ Now who could resist that?

As I ran over to meet him we chatted away for some time whilst I gulped down lots of his delightful fizzy liquid. After that experience, it looks like my birthday party is covered.

Feeling completely satisfied (hic) I started to make my way out, I had a great day on that Saturday and I'm sure everyone who visited did too! I shall certainly be attending the next one. Well done to all the exhibitors and to the Nicosia Tourism Board for their support.

By Tania Anastasi

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