Cypriot cuisine

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Cypriot cuisine is the official cuisine of Cyprus; it has also been influenced by Byzantine, French, Italian, Catalan, Ottoman and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Frequently used ingredients are fresh vegetables such as zucchini, green peppers, okra, green beans, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and grape leaves, and pulses such as beans (for fasolia), broad beans, peas, black-eyed beans, chick-peas and lentils. Pears, apples, grapes, oranges, Mandarin oranges,  nectarines,  mespila,  blackberries,  cherries,  strawberries,  figs, watermelon,  melon,  avocado,  citrus,  lemon,  pistachio,  almond,  chestnut,  walnut,  hazelnut are some of the commonest of the fruits and nuts.

The best-known spices and herbs include pepper, parsley, arugula, celery, fresh coriander (cilantro), thyme, and oregano. Traditionally, cumin and coriander seeds make up the main cooking aromas of the island. Mint is a very important herb in Cyprus. It grows abundantly, and locals use it for everything, particularly in dishes containing ground meat. For example, the Cypriot version of pastitsio (locally known as macaronia tou fournou or makarna fırında) contains very little tomato and generous amounts of mint.[citation needed] The same is true of keftedes or köfte (meatballs), which are sometimes laced with mint to provide a contrast with the meat. For Turkish Cypriots potato is also often used in making keftedes. Fresh coriander or cilantro (commonly known as kolyandro or kolliandros on the island) is another commonly used herb. It is often used in salads, olive breads, spinach pies (spanakopita or ispanak böreği) and other pastries. In some regions of the island it is also used to flavour hot dishes, particularly tomato-based ones, such as yiachnista.

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