Indulging your sweet tooth is hardly a difficult affair in Nicosia, with modern bakeries and swish cake shops calling out for attention on practically every main street of the capital, as a new generation of pastry chefs master the art of showstopping desserts. But while all things new undoubtedly hold their own tasty appeal, nothing quite beats recapturing childhood emotions and tucking into moreish treats that bring tradition to life with every bite. My Cyprus Insider now takes you on a journey to some of the most loved traditional patisseries in Nicosia, with the lowdown on the tantalisingly sweet sensations that have made them so famous over the years!
Head to this sweet Agios Domedios hot spot at pretty much any time of the day and you’re bound to witness happy customers dashing in and of the place holding a trey of their beloved Noufaro treats. Having worked up a reputation for making the very best Cyprus style dark chocolate cake in the capital, this place first opened up back in 1961 on Onasagorou Street, run by Savvas Constantinou who was keen on promoting the traditional baklavas, kateifi and wedding loukoumia.
Noufaro today is still a family affair, run by Savvas’ two nieces, and makes excellent koks (patisserie cream sandwiched in sponge and topped with glaze), mille feuille, and – adding a French twist to Cypriot tradition – the place also bakes fresh and fluffy butter croissants every morning!
Where? 31 Tagmatarhou Poliou, Nicosia. Tel: (+357) 22-781040
At the very start of the 1900s, Rex was tucked away in a Ledra Street alley way, luring in Nicosians with sweet treats as delicious recipes were jotted down on paper by the then pastry chefs. Over a hundred years later, the very same handwritten recipes are now being used for the cakes devoured by a modern-day clientele visiting the popular shop on Metohiou street.
Now owned by pastry chef Giorgos Ioannou (since 1984), the place is famous across Nicosia for its Cardinalios – a dreamy mix of meringue, lady fingers and cream – as well as its patisserie cream cakes (koks, eclairs and ‘papades’- syrupy sponge with patisserie cream filling). The place also bakes traditional pastries, while it’s worth keeping in mind that recent expansion has seen a new Le Petit Rex open its doors; a place where you can sit down and relax enjoy your treat with a cup of tea or coffee.
Where? 41 Leoforos Archangelou, Nicosia. Tel: (+357) 22-781415
3. La Parfaite
If you’ve been to a Cypriot wedding or baptism, then chances are, you’ve tucked into a traditional sweet treat from La Parfaite. Having opened up in the late 80s, the shop on the busy Griva Digenis Avenue has become somewhat iconic, now having also opened branches in Strovolos and Lacha.
Famed for their produce using pistachio nuts (including the famous green cake), their wedding loukoumia and so called ‘halebiano’ or ‘parfait’ is their speciality. “We fuse tradition with more modern trends,” says Director of the La Parfait group, Pavlos Konstantou. And it all began out of a labour of love when a young poor Cypriot pastry chef fell in love with the daughter of a French pâtissier. In an attempt to win the affection of her and her family, he poured his heart and soul into a cake filled with delicious halepiano. The rest, is history!
Where? 63 Griva Digeni Avenue. Tel: (+357) 22 661412. 261 Strovolos Avenue. Tel: (+357) 22 455515. Archbishop Makarios III, Latcha. Tel: (+357) 22-455552
Bang in the centre of the capital on Digeni Akrita Avenue, no matter how many new establishments open up around this place, there’s always a dedicated clientele that cannot part with Napolitana fancies.
“There was hardly anyone on this road when we opened up in 1980!” recalls Agni Athangelou, who set up the place alongside her pastry chef husband, Polykarpos Agathangelou. Famed for their delicious patisserie cream, it’s a real ‘melt in your mouth’ experience with every bite. With their mille feuille the talk of the town, their koks, galatopoureko (fillo pastry filled with custard, drizzled with syrup) and chocolate ganache cake are also big hits.
Where? 78A – B Digeni Akrita Avenue, Nicosia. Tel: (+357) 22-751950
Palouriotissas’ answer to good traditional cakes, Pambos and Kleri Economou were only in their early twenties when they first opened up shop at this very spot 42 years ago. “He has never made notes of his recipes,” says Kleri when speaking about her husband’s talent in the kitchen. “He doesn’t read anything from a book, it’s all written down in his mind. And then he’ll have a taste of one of his creations and say: it needs a bit more of this, or a bit more of that. It’s like a work of art!”
Head to Gardenia for a whole range of traditional cakes, with their kok, dark chocolate cake and butter cream cake some of the most popular treats on offer.
Where? 20D Markou Drakou, Palouriotissa. Tel: (+357) 22-436677