Thursday, July 03, 2014

Cypriot Snacks

I love traveling... wait a minute, I don't love traveling all the time, I actually hate "traveling" particularly when it's airplane travel.  But I love to go to new places, and I particularly love trying new snacks.  It's just that whole airport, airplane, and even the taxi ride to the airport really is no fun at all.  I do however try and make the best of it, and before any trip I like to check out all of the crazy, and overpriced treats available in the airport.
The folks at Mars never let me down with the huge assortment of M&Ms related products.  If you've never been to an airport then you've probably only seen about 2% of the stuff Mars makes to support M&Ms.
I also love to check out the "local" products available in airports.  These are here as last minute purchases and are always over priced.  I particularly got a kick out of this jar of olives I found in the Athens airport, although I'm not sure I qualify to eat them.
The other thing one always finds at every airport is vending machines.  Much like the stores they're very expensive.  I'm assuming that this kind of thing is geared towards the business traveler that has a per diem that accounts for spending 5 euros for a cup of coffee out of a machine.
I also noticed something strange about this particular machine, it had a wire hanging out the side.  I'm not sure what one plugs into a coffee machine, but I think it would be really cool if it was a charging station for gadgets.  That way both you and your cell phone could get a charge in the morning.
Finally on the plane (after an hour or so delay), I noticed something strange on my box of food.  What language is the first one on this box.  I only ask because I've never heard anybody say "Bon appetite" in my life.  Most English speaking people I know use the French "Bon appetit", and if we did translate it we would probably say "Good appetite".  I always thought it was just a French expression that English speakers use.
Finally in Cyprus, I was sure to check out as much as I could on the snacking front.  In Nicosia I made a beeline across the border to see what kind of Turkish delight they had on offer.  I discovered a new version that I'd never seen before, it was a marshmallow based Turkish delight, and I hope to have a review up very soon.
I love venturing to the shops in Northern Cyprus, I particularly like the name of this place.
On the south side of the city I visited the local Tiger shop (really it's one of the best new chain stores in Europe), and I found these pretzels.  While the pretzels themselves were nothing impressive, I think they have one of the greatest names ever given to a salty snack.  They're called "These Pretzels are Making me Thirsty", a great homage to Seinfeld.
On this trip I learned about a love the Cypriot people have with carob.  Most people think of carob as being something to make fake chocolate out of, but here in Cyprus they love the stuff.  They make a carob syrup that they put on everything, and I picked up a bottle to sample later on.  I'm sure I'll post something about it in the future.
I'd also heard stories of a place called Platres Chocolate Workshop, in the Troodos mountains.  It is said to be the best place in the whole country to get chocolate, and to be a very uniquely Cypriot chocolate shop.  One doesn't normally associate Cyprus with chocolate, but really the island has so many flavours in their desserts that work so well with chocolate.
Platres Chocolate Workshop not only has a great selection of fine chocolates, but it has John, the chocolatier.  If you ever plan on visiting Platres Chocolate Workshop, make sure to book some time in your schedule.  John is a talker, and he describes his chocolate shop not as a place to buy chocolates, but a place to learn about chocolate.  The fact that you walk out of the shop with a box full of chocolates is an added bonus.  John will explain each and every chocolate he has in his case with a great amount of detail.  He explains where he's been to show off his skills, and what he's learned in his years making chocolate.  As you might expect, he even teaches classes on the subject of chocolate.  If you're in Cyprus and you love snacks and sweet treats, a visit to Platres Chocolate Workshop is an experience you must have.  As far as the chocolates go, well that's a review I'm writing right now.
My final night in Cyprus I felt it was important to sample a treat that I had on my last visit.  Strangely enough it comes from McDonald's, but I assure you it's very unique.
I've only ever seen them in Cypriot McDonald's, but the strawberry custard pie is one of the greatest desserts any fast food chain has ever produced.  The custard balances the sweet strawberry perfectly, and the crunchy deep fried crust adds the perfect texture.  If you re-shaped these and served them on a fine plate, even the finest gourmet would love them.  The perfect way to end my fun Cypriot adventure.


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