“ Address: Faros Avenue / Pervolia / Cyprus / Greece „
When travelling abroad, I take great interest in how other cultures approach their food. To the eternal frustration of my impatient wife, I will spend as much time perusing the shelves of foreign supermarkets as I will their national art galleries.
I take great delight in finding (and using) local ingredients and investigating local produce, especially (but not exclusively) when self-catering. For me, its all part of the holiday experience.
Fortunately, my wife and I seem to have found one local Cypriot establishment in particular that she enjoys shopping in just as much as me. The French have their well-appointed fromagerie and charcuterie, the Belgians love their fine chocolate boutiques, the English do (uhm... oh dear), but the Cypriots have an outstanding line in bakeries and sweet shops. One such purveyor of breadstuffs - Pirillos - sustains us for most of our almost annual visits to Cyprus.
Pirillos is a full service, family-owned chain of bakeries, offering a wide range of baked goods, dairy products, drinks and other sundries, concentrated mainly in the Larnaka area of Cyprus.
There are about twelve shops in all, with three of them within a 5km radius of our beach house near Pervolia. They specialise in breads, cakes, sweets, freshly baked biscuits, and pastries. Prices are quite reasonable and the quality outstanding.
Opening hours at our local shops are 7am to around 9pm, but other branches may vary. You will need to go relatively early (i.e. before
noon) to get the freshest goods, as their in-house bakers tend to stop baking in the early afternoon.
Staff are very friendly, efficient and are mainly English-speaking, but there are odd occasions when you may have to get by with rudimentary Greek and sign language. They love children, and will not usually let them leave without a treat of some sort "on the khouse". All major credit cards, including Amex, are accepted.
All purchases are properly boxed and expertly wrapped at the counter, and you also have the option to have cakes and biscuits packaged in the many decorative tins they have for sale - handy if it is a gift.
The cake counter is simply fabulous. A whole range of goodies in various sizes - from chocolate mousse cups, to fruit tarts, meringues, fondants, cream cakes and fancies are artistically crafted and tantalisingly displayed in the chiller cabinets.
They range in price between a little over a Euro per item for smaller "bite size" pieces, to around two to three Euro for "desert size" servings. If you are like me, you'll get fat just looking at them.
Whole cakes are available in the upright chiller cabinets for between 9 and 25 Euro. You can also get cakes made to order. We bought a splendid little fresh fruit tart for 15 Euro, layered - over a citrus flavoured custard mound - with apple, pear, strawberry, cherries and grapes and glazed with a thin layer of jelly.
The tart was a gift for a neighbour who let us use her pool during our holiday, and she absolutely insisted that we share in the spectacular creation. Despite my diet and sugar issues, I couldn't resist trying it. Needless to say, it required a second opinion.
BISCUITS & SWEETS
They also do a fabulous line of fine biscuits and cookies which are kept under a domed central counter that opens on both sides of the aisle, allowing you to serve yourself and fill one of the cardboard trays provided.
Another section is for local speciality sweets such as baklava (in various shapes, sizes and styles), tahini cakes, marzipan fruits, "Cyprus" delights, soujouki and katayiffi.
My wife loves baklava when its "properly made" (everyone has a different idea of proper depending on which part of the Middle East they come
from) and she made sure she had her fill of this syrupy, sticky sweet before we left for home.
My sarky comments about fat and calories were "rewarded" with a thunderous scowl and an icy, sotto voce growl of "I'm on holiday". I let it go. I have long since learned there's no point in arguing with a pregnant woman with sugar cravings (on holiday or otherwise).
BREAD OF HEAVEN
There are racks of freshly baked breads of all kinds - rounds, various sizes and types of pitta, sliced wholemeal loaves, rye bread, corn bread and even ciabatta and french sticks. My favourites are undoubtedly the more-ish savoury olive loaves baked with oregano and whole Kalamata olives (with stones still in, so be careful) and the freshly baked rounds of local earthy bread that the Cypriots make (and use in preference to pitta).
There is a large chiller cabinet full of dairy products, pre-packaged sliced meats and drinks. I would recommend trying the local smoked pork (hiromeri - similar to black forest ham) and loundza sausage, as well as the halloumi, feta and yoghurt - of which there are too many varieties to mention (involving sheep, cows, goats and any combination of the foregoing). Cypriots love their canned iced coffee and a truly bewildering variety is provided for local consumption (Macadamia flavour anyone?).
Going to Pirillos is a real sensory experience. They do a great variety of Cypriot "fast food" which augments lunch salads very nicely, and their sweets and treats are excellent.
Window shopping is permitted of course, but it would take superhuman will not to give in to temptation, which is why for the second week of our holiday, I stayed in the car and sent my wife in to do the shopping. Possibly not the healthiest move for my wallet, but it certainly kept my waistline out of harm's way.
Note: The picture DooYoo have used is of the Pervolia branch on Faros Avenue, and actually shows the cafe next door, rather than the bakery, which out of shot to the left.
© Hishyeness 2009