THE BREAD QUEST
One of my gripes about living in Cyprus and being a big home cook and “eat-at-home-er” is the lack of good quality international-style bread. Sometimes I just crave something other than Cyprus village style loaves. Maybe it’s the Generation X in me. (And don’t get me wrong, I love the Cyprus breads…but they deserve a separate article!) Anyway, my friends are always quick to point out that this is Cyprus, not Germany, not Italy, and not anywhere else. But I think that argument just isn’t good enough. So for the last couple years I just sort of meandered along. But then – this year – it became olive oil season and all I really wanted was a good piece of bread to go with my fresh olive oil. So I decided to do a search to see if anything existed in terms of international style bread in Cyprus. The answer? I found a couple bread-makers of which I am now BIG fans. I don’t claim that this is a comprehensive list (there is like literally 2 bakeries on my list). It’s just my opinion. It is hard to find good international style bread in Cyprus – so if you know of any other good places, please do not hesitate to point us all in the right direction! … [UPDATE 14 MARCH 2014: Since writing this article, I have been told by many people about a wonderful place in Larnaca called “The Nest” which I look forward to visiting when I next go to Larnaca!)
Number 1: Homemade Goodness
Contact: Sofia Matsi + 357 99 354 132
Where To Buy:
Nicosia: Viocultura Bio Store or Utopia Collectiva
Limassol, Pafos & Larnaca: Order direct from Homemade Goodness (+357 99 354 132). Reasonable delivery options available all across Cyprus. Products delivered within day of shipment.
About: Homemade Goodness is a bakery whose goal it is, is to create as many organic, healthy and nutrition-rich products using local ingredients where possible. Their products are all vegan and are suitable for all of those who thrive for a low-fat and no refined sugar nutrition diet. They sell an assortment of yummy breads, bars, chocolates and butters. You can learn more on their facebook page here and website here.
I began my search by googling, talking to people and scouring facebook for Cyprus bread makers. I came across a page called “Homemade Goodness” which specializes in vegan products. Pictures of homemade bread that look yummy with a warm homemade touch. I wrote to Homemade Goodness to find out where I could buy their bread. What a bubbly and kind person Sofia is. I live in Limassol and although the bread is made in Nicosia, Sofia informed me that the bread can be arranged to be sent to Limassol by courier, (courier costs to be paid by the buyer). I tried two loaves. The first was a whole-wheat grain loaf with pumpkin seeds. The second was the “zeas” loaf. Both were tasty and nutritional. I enjoyed the fact that both these breads were tasty in and of themselves. You didn’t need to add butter or other accompaniments to make the bread enjoyable. The breads were just enjoyable. On their Own. Period. And I can’t say that about many international style breads in Cyprus. A true reflection of their quality I believe. The “zeas” loaf was particularly unique. The “zeas” loaf is made from made a special variety of wheat known as “dicoccum wheat” imported from Greece. It is a gluten-low grain. It is very high in magnesium and very rich in dietary fiber. It is said that “zeas” flour was a key component of the diet of Ancient Greeks. In fact, the etymology of the ancient Greek word “ζείδωρος” (zeidoros) meaning “life giving” comes from this particular cereal. Clearly, “zeas” flour has a great reputation. But in my world what is also important is the flavour and taste of their bread. I loved the fact that the breads I tried from Homemade Goodness had flavour and could be enjoyed in and of themselves. They also lasted a long time. And – not to be forgotten -they passed my grilled cheese test. I made grilled cheese with the “zeas” bread loaf, and it kept it’s shape – which some breads don’t do.
In addition to the “zeas” bread loaf above, Homemade Goodness also sells a whole-wheat loaf with your choice of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. The whole-wheat grain loaf is made out of wheat grown in Cyprus and freshly grained the mill at Kato Moni. I tried the whole-wheat loaf and I would order it again. They also offer an organic whole-wheat loaf with your choice of linseed, seeds or oats. You can buy the loaves from Vioculture and Utopia Collectiva in Nicosia. The Zeas loaf sells for 4 Euros, and the whole-wheat grain loaf is sold for 3 Euros. You can also place direct orders with Homemade Goodness themselves with Sofia on 99 354 132. If you live in Limassol, or elsewhere in Cyprus, and you are willing to cover the costs of the courier, you can also order bread to Limassol, which I thought was a fantastic option to offer. And one which I will definitely be taking up myself! Thank goodness for Homemade Goodness!
Number 2: Qboo Bakery
Contact: Cornelius Schultze-Kraft + 357 22 270 477
Where To Buy:
Nicosia: Qboo Bakery
About: A Nicosia German bakery that makes everything from scratch every day. It sells fresh bread every day including: 5 different kinds of organic breads fresh every day, 2 different kinds of spelt bread fresh every day, bagels and an assortment of other yummy goodies. You can find out more about the bakery on their facebook page here.
I also decided to go to Nicosia and stop at the Qboo bakery which I had learned about from Cypriot and Proud – a fantastic website if you are looking for Cyprus restaurant reviews and a Cyprus lifestyle guide. As a bagel lover, I had sufficed with buying pre-packaged bagels from Marks & Spencers. The type of bagel that just can sit in their packaging for years and still look brand new. It was the desperate bagel lover’s only choice in Cyprus …. until Qboo. Since I have discovered Qboo my Marks & Spencer’s bagel days are now over. I have also tried their pretzels which make me feel like I am actually in a bakery in Germany. What stood out for me was not only the pleasant greeting by the owner himself – Cornelius Schultze-Kraft – but his extensive knowledge of his craft and willingness to share it with two people who happened to just drop by, like any other. It is clear that he loves what he does – and this shows through the quality of the bread and other goodies. What stood out for me in particular was their pumpernickel style bread. I was told if properly wrapped can last up to a month. They had a great selection of other breads too, including pretzels, sourdough, rye and spelt.
I asked Cornelius a little bit about his pumpernickel style bread. Did you know that it takes 4.5 days from first mix to sale? This is because Cornelius uses a “slow fermentation” process when making all of his breads, which is essential to both flavour and nutritional value when making any bread. Also, it is a whole-grain bread which means it is high in fiber and contains lots of minerals. What makes pumpernickel bread special is that it is 100% rye. However, you may have picked up that Cornelius calls his bread “pumpernickel style” not “pumpernickel”. Why the difference? Because in Germany, pumpernickel bread has to be 100% rye. Cornelius adds sunflower seeds to the bread, which is why it is called pumpernickel style. But, to me it makes no difference what it is called because at the end of the day – I am loving every piece of it!
Sadly, that’s as far as I got with my search. It’s not easy to find good quality international style bread in Cyprus. If anyone can recommend other places to check out, then please leave a comment below. I would be happy to hear from you and to expand the list! Particularly in Pafos and Laranca, and if anyone knows of any good Italian bread makers out there please shout (…well, via the internet I mean). Enjoy these breads, they are great!