cyprus sweets


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The kind of sweets we’re talking about here are “Glyko Tou Koutaliou,” or, in English, “spoon sweets.” They’re not “sweets” as the word is used in the UK; you won’t find them in a confectioner’s shop in sweetie wrappers like gobstoppers or lemon drops. (Do they still make gobstoppers?) Spoon sweets are preserved fruits and they’re so called because they are served in a spoon in Greece, Cyprus, Russia, the Balkans and the Middle East. You can use almost any fruit, though the local taste prefers fruits with a touch of sourness or a bitter edge to them.

And, in fact, it is possible – at least in Greece and Cyprus – to have spoon sweets that contain no fruit, because we have one we love that is called vanillia, which does not mean that it’s made with the vanilla pod – in fact, it’s made from a mastic resin produced in the Aegean island of Cheos – and Cheos is quite justifiably proud of its production. The usual way of serving this spoon sweet is as a “vanilla submarine,” dropped into a tall glass of water that is ice cold and then licked like a lollipop (not while it’s still in the glass, of course).

The existence of these sweets reminds us that preserved whole fruits are common in most homes in Cyprus and Greece – they are a sign of hospitality as well as of a sweet tooth, and you’re more likely to find them there than not. The fruit is boiled in sugared water, slowly and gently, at least for a number of hours and sometimes for days, until the syrup has set. If you ask a Cypriot cook the secret of spoon fruits you will be told that it is, “patience and a strong pot.” Usually a little lemon juice will be added to the water, partly to keep the fruit’s natural colour and partly because we Cypriots love lemon juice. We may also add a small amount of slivered almonds to give a little crunch to the sweets. There are some things we pop into the boil while it is going on, and remove after a while; they include mint, cinnamon bark, the leaves of the apple geranium, and sometimes a little something that has been handed down in one family from generation to generation.

What fruits might you find preserved as spoon sweets? The list is almost endless, and we won’t bore you with an exhaustive list, but grapes, figs, pomegranates, tangerines, grapefruit, quinces and oranges are all popular. But the best thing you can do is to try some, and see what you get!

When you serve them, don’t forget the thick Greek coffee – it sets them off a treat.

Company Info

Contact Person: Nikos Andrea
Mailing Address: Koniele Trading LTD,
Evagorou 6, Dromolaxia, Cyprus 7020
Call/Text: 00 357 97 884776
Company Reg. No: HE343968