Breakfast is best eaten abroad

Long-term memory works in fascinating ways. Mine certainly does. I remember some things in every single detail whilst others I completely forget.

And random memories come to me at random times.

Yesterday I woke up tired. It’s been a busy week. Somehow and out of the blue this vivid memory from three years ago suddenly came to my mind. Sheba and I were in Berlin, on the hunt for breakfast and we thought we’d check out the quirky cafe our AirBnb hostess suggested. That was one of the best breakfasts I ever had.

A great selection of fruit, warm bread, mozzarella, tomato, prosciutto, a boiled egg, olive pate. Everything was fresh and tasted amazing. Such a simple but delicious, full of flavour and full of goodness breakfast.

That got me thinking. A day earlier I was telling my colleagues how the best English breakfast I had was at a small hotel in the mountains, The Royal Ship Dolgellau in Wales. Every single ingredient was locally sourced and tasted incredible. Do you sense a theme here?

Food tastes better when on a holiday, a break, away from work and routine. Especially breakfast. The first meal of the day. It may just be that it happened that the quality of the food was way more superb in these two occasions but no…

The breakfast my wonderful AirBnb hostess Malvina served me every morning when I was in Bordeaux… (I can still taste the homemade honey)

…the fresh pastries the hotel owner we stayed in Rome brought us every day…

and the traditional ones we got from Prozymi bakery in Protaras last September (what I wouldn’t give for a tahinopitta right now)…

I came to the realisation that breakfast (well not just breakfast) tastes much better on holiday mode, weekend mode, break mode, especially in the sunshine, with beautiful views.

I got up, made some porridge and counted how many days I have left before I have a long-term hopefully, break from routine. I reckon breakfast will taste amazing from that day on.

I’d love to hear some of your favourite breakfast meals you had away. Or maybe that’s only me?



Koupes! Freskes koupes!

Early 1990s…

In a small neighbourhood at Strovolos, in Nicosia, on a sunny morning, my sister, our friends, the neighbours next door and I are playing in the front yard, as we did most weekends.

Suddenly, a familiar voice…

‘ Ούλλοι να ζήσουμε! Κουπες, έσηιει φρέσκες κούπες! ( We all need to make a living! Koupes, fresh koupes!)’ 

Yiannis, the ‘koupes man’ (Ο Γιαννής που τις κούπες), a short, always wearing a hat and always smiling 60 year old was going around the neighbourhoods on his little vespa with a huge box on the back to keep his homemade koupes  warm (it’s still uncertain whether he made them himself or his wife did, if any of my childhood friends know more, please do comment).

There are very few things I enjoyed more than a warm koupa with freshly squeezed lemon on a Saturday morning. 

So what is koupa? Κούπα/kibbeh/keufteh/içli köfte as it’s known in other countries is an eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern (where the Med meets the Arabic cuisine) dish made of bulgur, minced onions, and finely ground lean beef, lamb, goat, or camel meat with Middle Eastern spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice).  

In Cyprus is made of bulgur, minced onions, minced beef and spices. The best way to describe it is a mince filled croquette (there is also veggie variant with mushroom filling).  

And is delicious. The slightly crispy but soft bulgur crust, the tasty, faintly sweet from the spices, the onions and the beef filling and the bitterness of the lemon, it’s hard to imagine until you try it.

None of the koupes I had since Yiannis died years ago ever tasted the same and it never will, that’s the beauty of homemade food but it’s still one of my favourite treats. This is the first thing I’m having when I make it home for Christmas. 

You can find koupes in most bakeries and few fast food restaurants.

Special thanks to my mum for reminding me some of the finer details I forgot. I had no idea Yiannis was actually my grandpa’s cousin!