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Baking success: celebrating mindful eating in Cyprus

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In the heart of Nicosia, one bakery has taken a different approach, using natural ingredients and keeping an eye on the environment. SARA DOUEDARI meets the siblings behind it

As you step into the Seed of Happiness bakery, the minimalist design with its warm orange tones creates a welcoming atmosphere. The interior, though simple, is thoughtfully arranged to showcase the heart of this establishment: its food. The menu includes homemade and handcrafted items prepared in small batches for the freshest quality. It emphasises natural ingredients, alongside gluten-free, refined sugar-free and vegan options.

For the sake of best flavours and ingredients, the menu changes seasonally, offering a variety of foods such as freshly baked bread, toasties, pastries, cookies, muffins, granola, celebration cakes and ice cream.

The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, with options to sit either inside, or outside to enjoy food and specialty coffees in the fresh air. One of the bakery’s unique features is the glass windows behind the counter allowing customers to see the skilled team in action.

feature2 2Founded in 2017, Seed of Happiness reflects siblings Melina and Christos Nicolaides’ shared vision of bringing nourishing eating options to the Cypriot market. Their concept combines a focus on sustainable sourcing, health and the pleasure of good food. Melina and Christos created a space where mindful eating is not just encouraged but celebrated.

Their path to founding Seed of Happiness was paved with personal experiences and a deep-seated belief in the power of food to transform lives. Growing up in a society where fast food often trumped nutritious meals, they encountered scepticism for their health-oriented choices. Christos recalls a moment from his childhood, “I was ridiculed for my carrot and mustard sandwich. It was in that moment that I realised the potential for change, for creating something delicious, healthy, and without harm,” he explains.

Christos had a dynamic career spanning hotels, restaurants and music festivals across Dubai, the UK and Cyprus. His entrepreneurial spirit was already evident with GSK (Gyros sta Karvouna), a project that reimagined the traditional gyros with a healthy twist. Melina’s background as a stylist and fashion magazine producer in the UK equipped her with a great creative flair and a keen eye for design. After years in the fast-paced fashion and media industry, she returned to Cyprus to start the Seed of Happiness project.

Their goal was clear: to offer a culinary experience that was not only pleasurable but also beneficial to both health and the environment, and Seed of Happiness insists on handcrafting its products. “When you work with gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan ingredients, there’s a certain level of creativity and handcrafting that goes into it,” Melina points out, stressing the importance of making each product well and with integrity.

featue2 the siblings outside the shop
The siblings outside the shop

It is also about exploring something new. “The development of new products is a dynamic process at Seed of Happiness, influenced by intuition, seasonal availability, and customer feedback,” Christos adds. This approach has allowed them to keep their offerings fresh and innovative.

But neither of them will be tied down to a favourite item on the menu. “Everything. Each item truly possesses its own unique and delightful charm,” they both agree.

Despite their success, they face challenges, particularly the high costs associated with their chosen ingredients. “Gluten-free and vegan ingredients are more expensive, but we never compromise on quality,” says Melina. Gluten-free flours, for instance, are considerably more expensive than their wheat counterparts. While a kilogram of wheat flour costs as little as €3, the cheapest gluten-free flour starts at €7. Similar cost disparities are seen in ingredients like coconut sugar, maple syrup, and Medjool dates compared to white sugar.

Even sourcing alternative milks and cheeses, often made from cashews, presents its own challenges. “In a small island like Cyprus, where cost-effectiveness and portion size matter, this becomes a significant challenge. Our vision has always been to make healthy eating accessible,” adds Christos. “Yes, the costs are higher, but we believe in the value of what we offer.”

This commitment has necessitated finding a balance between maintaining high standards and keeping their products reasonably priced. One standout feature of Seed of Happiness is its island-wide delivery service, underscoring their dedication to making health-conscious food accessible to more people, bridging the gap between the bakery’s location in Nicosia and potential customers elsewhere on the island.

Looking ahead, Melina and Christos envision expanding the bakery’s reach, exploring new markets, and continuing to innovate their menu. Beyond growth, their ambition is to empower individuals to make health-conscious dietary choices, fostering a healthier, happier community. “We have many dreams for Seed of Happiness,” Melina says. “Our journey has just begun, and we’re excited to see where it leads. More than anything, we want to continue to inspire and be inspired by the people we serve.”

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