When it comes to summer in Cyprus there really are only two things to eat, watermelon or ice cream. And when it comes to the latter, the only place to enjoy something a bit out of the ordinary is Limassol.
Long gone are the days of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Ice creams of all sorts are now available everywhere you turn but Gelato Mio offers something a bit more unusual – authentic Cypriot flavours.
And the most traditional of all? Perhaps Halloumi with watermelon. It’s salty and although not to everyone’s taste, it’s fans (including me) are huge supporters. Since the inception of the store in 2013, owner George Georgiou has created over 400 flavours. Located at the store at the old port, the innocent looking shop offers items you wouldn’t normally associate with ice cream.
Flavours currently on offer include the traditional Cyprus sweet galaktopureko, kateifi, mastic and even walnut spoon sweet (glyko karydaki). Kateifi deserved all the kudos because it tastes just like the actual dessert, galaktopureko is sweet and glyko karydaki has a hint of the authentic flavour associated with the preserve. Even mastic, mixed in with some strawberry tastes great.
That’s not all though – doukissa (Cyprus’ chocolate biscuit cake) is served as ice cream but watch out for the strong chocolate flavour. Farin lactee (not just for babies in Cyprus) tastes just like the real thing and for the brave, there’s Jack Daniels and even beer flavour.
At Easter time, Georgiou also makes flaouna and tsoureki flavours. You wouldn’t believe it but they’re in demand, he says.
A short walk from the port and moving away from traditional Cyprus is the Uluwate café at end of Anexartisias, named after a stunning location in south Bali, a place which made a lasting impression on owner Andreas Papandreou when he travelled there.
The place itself is cosy with a wonderful scent of coffee and some of the most unique ice creams in Cyprus on display. One of the most striking is the ‘flower’ ice cream which contains edible begonia flowers that come from a farm in Paphos. Made with organic milk and strawberry sauce, it is a creamy delight on a hot summer day.
If you prefer an extremely refreshing sorbet, there’s a colourfully pink strawberry with pomegranate (which you’ll find real pieces of). The quality is evident in the ice cream but Uluwate café also offers different flavours of ice creams most of which are offered on a stick including cappuccino and pistachio. For the more exorbitant, there’s a gold wrapped ice cream which comes a bit pricier.
Sticking with a fancy theme, Colors Café can offer ‘creations’ which are an extravaganza of ice cream. The ‘vanilla premium’ comes served in a cocktail glass with three scoops of delicious vanilla ice cream where it’s clear the ingredients are of great quality (you can ask to swap some of the ice cream scoops with other flavours though) served with cookies and a light crunchy biscuit. They are certainly big enough to share and resemble a meal more than a light dessert.
It’s definitely worth trying the peanut butter ice cream – a creamy delight with lingering flavours that melt in your mouth and take you to ice cream heaven. More unique flavours include apple pie where the taste of cinnamon can be a little strong and banoffee which is sweet but a guilty treat.
It is a struggle to cope with the heat in Cyprus, so while trying to tackle the weather warnings and contemplating living in your fridge, head to Limassol and treat yourself from the wide array of ice cream options. There’s enough to keep you going all summer.