A real foodie at heart with a passion for all things that tease the taste buds along with an endless love affair for new adventures that capture the true essence of discovery, Maria is well known as a travel, food and drinks writer; a profession that has kept her rather busy for the last 10 years.
“I believe that life is best enjoyed when we enjoy the little things. So I write about these moments and things!,” she enthuses. Always happy to pack her suitcase and jet off to new and exciting destinations, she tries to go to a few new new countries every year. “So far, it has been the Scottish Lowlands and Israel. But my dream destinations right now are Costa Rica, Cuba and Morocco.”
Throughout her career, Maria has poured her heart and soul into food and travel related magazines in Cyprus, while having also written and edited travel guides on Cyprus for foreign publishing houses. And at the moment, she is juggling a number of inspiring projects, which include working hard as the editor in chief of Kitchen by Akis Petretzikis.
Also busy with her own website, The Wander Notes, she spends much time typing away about her favourite food, drinks and travel experiences, both in Cyprus and abroad. And yes, she does have a particular soft spot for ending the day with her favourite alcoholic beverage. “I will always love wine, but my bar cart (I do have one), is all about gin at the moment. G+T, God bless!”
My Cyprus Insider asks her ten questions about her life in Cyprus…read on!
1. Three things you most love about Cyprus…
- The old towns of Nicosia and Limassol.
- The exquisite sea in Protaras, Ayia Napa and Latchi.
- The wine villages in the Limassol district (like Vouni, Lofou, Vasa, and Omodos).
2. Beloved spot on the island?
Pomos; although definitely not the most beautiful village in Cyprus, the drive there is breathtaking. The road is just a few metres from the sea, filled with palm trees – it’s an image I haven’t encountered anywhere else on the island. In Pomos, it’s as though time has stood still. My favourite spot is Kanali beach, right next to the fishing port, where the mountains meet the sea.
3. Favourite town?
Ever since I can remember, Nicosia has always been where I go back to, especially the old city; it has this indefinable romance to it. Although there are areas that could be better restored, I’m hard pressed to think of something more beautiful than the smell of jasmine that fills the narrow streets of old Nicosia, on a warm spring evening.
Photo: Maria Th. Massoura
4. Best memory?
When I was a kid I used to go for a week with my parents and my sister to Paphos. We used to go to Coral Bay (or Maa, as my childhood friends from Paphos used to call it) from morning until noon – return to the hotel exhausted for food and a nap – and then head straight back until sunset. We always left with a heavy heart at the end of the holiday.
5. Describe your perfect day in Cyprus, from sunrise to sunset…
A winter day trip to Agros. First stop at Mpakaliko tou Hapsi in Agros for some wine and nibbles – locally produced cold cuts, village bread, and halloumi – and then a walk around the village for some Spoon Sweets (try the carrot) from NIki (4 Triantafillon St, Tel: +357 25-521 400). To buy some more cold cuts (lountza, sausages) head to Kafkalia Sisters’ workshop (tel: +357 25- 521426) and end your day with a relaxing coffee with a view at the Rodon Hotel.
6. A day at the beach or mountains?
The sea, without hesitation. My favourite beaches are in Protaras and Ayia Napa – breathtaking Konnos Bay, Melissi Beach with the coolest beach bar in Cyprus, Marcello’s and the wonderful secret creek next to Golden Beach and Green Bay. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a spot to lay back on the big rock.
7. Favourite place to eat?
I don’t have a favourite restaurant, but rather, favourite dishes and experiences. Dim Sum at Chi Lounge , salmon teriyaki at Dino Bistro Café, small fried crabs at Piatakia, the braised beef cheeks served on potato purée at Souxou Mouxou Μantalakia, Thai Green Curry with delicate spices at the Knight’s Pub, the platter with German sausages and schnitzel at Bavarian Delicatessen, the Urban Soul Kitchen burger and many more. And, of course, summer nights sitting outside at To Pantopoleio-Kali Orexi, the atmospheric evenings at D.O.T, lunch at Fat Fish and the time we stayed up until the early hours of the morning at 7 St. Georges with the delightful company of the owner, George Demetriades.
8. Favourite place for a drink?
I tend to go to bars that have three key elements – cocktails made right, a well thought out decor, and of course, good music. You must visit Lost + Found Drinkery for a Dead End, Silverstar – A Wine Bar by Cava Nostra for their fantastic Gin n Tonics, Madam for a twist on the classic Gibson, Mukta for a Manhattan, Vino Cultura for a cocktail with homemade liqueurs, Palia Pineza for an aged Negroni and The Gym for a Madame Bovary.
Photo: Maria Th. Massoura
9. If you were to recommend a visitor tries just one local dish, what would it be?
A simple, but fundamental dish in my opinion: village halloumi, juicy red tomatoes and extra virgin Cypriot olive oil in a Paphos pitta bread (just out of the oven, of course!). All the flavours of the Mediterranean, and Cyprus’ temperament, in a sandwich!
10. Best season in Cyprus?
The first and last days of the summer. At the beginning, lies the promise of a long, bright summer and those first summer evenings out on the balcony. Towards the end, it’s the quiet beaches and calm sea that inspires me, from early morning to late evening.