A fantastic selection of sweet and syrupy desserts can be found in this coastal area of Cyprus. Some recipes are traditionally local, others encompass much of this Mediterranean region including Greece and Turkey. The desserts usually come in the form of sweet and sticky pastries.
Holidays are the perfect time to explore local sweet treats, so we’ve put together a selection of Paphos’ top baked goods that are not to be missed.
These are Cypriot-style donuts or honey balls. Imagine small pastry puffs that are deep-fried in sugar, syrup or honey, finished with a sprinkle of cinnamon or even a dash of chocolate. It’s an old recipe that sees its origins in the Greeks, the Ottomans and certain parts of the Middle East and North Africa.
Fairly easy to make and very tasty, it’s easy to see why the recipe presides throughout this vast Mediterranean region. In Turkey, for example, they are called Lokma. This certainly isn’t the only dish that’s transcended countries, religions and cultures, and stood the test of time.
This sweet pastry, like many of the desserts, is made with lashings of syrup. You’ve probably bought versions from stores in the UK but those versions are usually much sweeter than their authentic counterparts. The real deal is far more aromatic.
Baklava actually featured in the season 5 semi-final of Bake Off, and are made with layers of pastry sheets filled with nuts including pistachios, walnuts, almonds, with cinnamon and drizzled with syrup or honey. Rose water, orange or vanilla essence can be added, and following in the tradition of Bake Off it’s good to experiment with these flavours to find your favourite.
In Cyprus, they come in alternative shapes and sizes and allocated different names accordingly. Though it said to be of Turkish origin, it spread throughout the Ottoman Empire even as far as Albania and Azerbaijan. It’s a fairly complex recipe, and Mary Berry would certainly have her eye on you if you could master the perfect baklava.
This is a dessert falls under the category of Siropiasta, which are extra syrupy Greek desserts. And it could literally be one of the best sweet puddings you’ve ever tried in your life. It consists of filo pastry filled with a moorishly creamy semolina-based custard, again with lashings of syrup drizzled over the top and plenty of butter.
Once assembled it won’t take long to bake in the oven. You need to wait until the custard is set and the pastry is golden and a crispy. Best enjoyed with a cup of strong coffee under the Mediterranean sun.
If you’ve ever been to certain areas of London, you may have seen people sitting in Turkish or Cypriot cafes rolling out pastries with intent and they could be preparing to make Bourekia. You might be familiar with the savoury version of this, but there’s a sweet alternative that’s also great for eating on the go.
The pastry is filled with cinnamon, sugar and delicious anari cheese, a mild ricotta-style cheese that can be used as an alternative. It is then deep-fried to create a devilish dessert.
Cypriot Delight or Loukoumia
Although not strictly baked, we can’t talk about Cypriot puddings without mentioning the Cypriot Delight, similar to it’s Turkish counterpart. You can buy them in the roadside stalls and even venture inside a shop to watch the sweets being made. Though the recipes, which have been handed down the generations, are well guarded.
A short distance east of Paphos sits in a small coastal village called Geroskipou. Historically it was a place where aromatic flowers and pomegranate trees flourished, which were dedicated to the goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite. It is said she was born near Old Paphos. The gardens are long gone but the scent of Cypriot Delight being made in the factories here is just as fragrant.
Which baked treat will you go for first on your next holiday to Paphos? Let us know the most delicious baked treat you’ve discovered on your travels abroad.