Cypriot sausages are meltingly delicious. Spicy or herby, they are a very welcome addition to a bbq or sliced on pizza. The most famous are probably the sheftali which by UK terms are a sausage but Cypriots class them as a type of kebab. Traditionally sheftali are made from lamb and local herbs and then encased in a sheep's caul (weblike fatty lining of the sheep's stomach). To be honest, they don't look very attractive but do not be dissuaded by their appearance. When you grill these babies, the caul melts and renders, basting the lamb sausage mixture with delicious juice and then dries to an almost invisible, slightly crisp coating. Imagine biting through that to the succulent, juicy lamb inside. It's heaven. Placed inside some warm pitta bread, or on crusty village bread, with some sun ripened tomatoes, they are a feast.
Recently I have also seen pork sheftali making an appearance. They are constructed exactly like the lamb variant but the end result is a rather drier sausage, still delicious though. Pork is more common in the south I think and in ex-pat delis on the north side. Turkish Cypriots don't eat pork, so you won't find them in the traditional restaurants.
The other sausage which is very traditional and well worth trying is pastourma. This is a spicier affair, not unlike meguez found further west in the Mediterranean. The meat in the sausage can be beef or pork or a mixture of the two. This sausage is made throughout the Levant and the Middle East and some say that in parts, camel is also in the mix. Safe to say, not here though..... the meat is mixed with red wine and red wine vinegar and a variety of herbs and spices, exact ingredients vary from family to family. However, juniper, cumin, coriander, chilli, paprika and salt and pepper all regularly feature. The sausage is presented in a large coil, rather like a large Cumberland sausage. It can be sliced thin and fried or cubed or fried/grilled in large lengths. The taste is delicious and a red, spicy juice comes out during the cooking process which is fabulous mopped up with some crusty bread. Pastourma is also delicious sliced and put on top of pizza.
Most butchers or butchery counters in supermarkets will have these sausages on offer. Ileli always has pastourma. You have to get up early if you want sheftali. They are made fresh every morning and when they're gone..... they're gone. You'll be lucky to find any available after about 11am. Starlings and Ileli have sheftali in the mornings. There is also a wonderful kebab shop in Alsancak (B&I) which sells all sorts of sheftali and similar sausages. Again, go in the morning....
A Taste of the Local Sausage!
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The Boler family love travel, food and drink. Not necessarily in that order! The villa is our home from home which we love to share with our friends, old and new.