Gliko tou Koutaliou (Glyko, Spoon Sweets)
Gliko tou Koutaliou, or simply Glyko, are traditional Greek spoon sweets offered to guests as a symbol of hospitality and served with Cypriot coffee and a glass of cold water. They can also be served with yoghurt or ice cream. These sweets are made from walnuts, peaches, almonds, dates, oranges, cherries, lemon blossoms, apricots, bergamot, watermelon, pumpkin and figs. Time and patience are the key to make these delicacies. Generally, these sweets are prepared at the time of the year the particular fruit matures or just before it is fully ripe, depending on the fruit. The village of Agros is famous for making this sweet from rose petals. Sometimes, vegetables such as courgettes and eggplants are also used to make this sweet. The fruits, vegetables or nuts are slowly and gently boiled in water and sugar over several hours or even days. A little bit of lemon juice is added to the mixture to preserve the fruit’s original colour. The cooking is done when the syrup has set. Each fruit, vegetable or nut has its own specific method to prepare. The important thing is for the sweet to retain the original shape, colour, smell and taste of the fruit, vegetable or nut.
Baklava is a crunchy sweet pastry originating from the Ottoman Empire and very popular amongst both Northern and Southern Cypriot communities. It is made from layers of flaky filo pastry and a spicy cinnamon and walnut or pistachio (or a mixture of both) filling and soaked in honey syrup. Try our traditional homemade baklava recipe!
Mahallepi is a cream pudding traditionally served with rose water or orange blossom water. It can also be topped with spoon sweets or pistachios.
Halva is a sweet confection popular in various countries across the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. There are two types of halva: halva made from semolina and that made from tahini (a sesame paste). The latter tends to be more crumbly than its gelatinous semolina counterpart. Halva can also be made from various other ingredients such as sunflower seeds, lentils, beans and various nuts. Most types of halva are sweetened with sugar or honey. Dried fruit and nuts are commonly added to the semolina halva. Pistacchio nuts, chocolate, vanilla or orange juice are often added to the tahini halva base.