Friday, 01 November 2013 22:10

Ode to a toasted sandwich

Thinking back I am actually wondering if I even ate sandwiches before moving to Cyprus. Or maybe I had just never had a ‘real’ toasted sandwich before I came here.

The start of my love affair with the toasted sandwich

My love affair with the toasted sandwich started only a few days into my stay in Limassol when I joined a walking tour organized by the local tourism office to get to know my new hometown better. Our guide picked an open air café near the old central market of town for a break.

It was August and very hot and I remember the friendly, cheerful waiter who unlike my fellow walkers, was not surprised at the fact that I was having a beer at 11:00 a.m. After all I am Austrian which basically entitles me to having a beer any time of day. I also remember the quaint atmosphere of the place and the fact that it was more crowded than the other cafes around.

Seeking out the toasted sandwich place

I did not eat anything during my first visit, but when I was again on a little exploration tour  a week later and wondering where to take a break, I decided I’d return to the café with the friendly waiter. I soon found out that he was the owner’s son - Demitris. Since then I have returned many times for a toasted sandwich and a cold beer - actually weekly for a long time, even twice a week at times. And up to this day I go there regularly for my ‘sandwich fix’. Petros Café has become my one and only place to have a sandwich and Petros and his two sons like family by now.

The fellow lovers of toasted sandwiches

Most guests there are by now familiar faces too as many are regulars. The place has existed for nearly 30 years and many of the mainly foreign patrons know Petros from his very early days. Those who have since left the island and come back only to visit will always make sure to include a sandwich stop at Petro’s Café.

On the choosing  from a long list of toasted sandwiches

The Café has a long list of sandwiches, salads and snacks, but I have actually never moved beyond their pork sandwich and their lountza-halloumi sandwich.  The pork is oven roasted and thinly sliced, the lountza (local smoked ham) and the halloumi cheese are toasted - served in a grilled sandwich loaf with cucumber and tomato and… that’s it. There is something incredibly tasty about this simple and flavourful combination.

The fact that Petros's are served wrapped in a piece of white paper makes them even more special. I feel like I am unwrapping a magical Christmas present each time I am served mine - often with a smiley face drawn on top by the youthful 67 year-old owner.

It is my favorite place to meet people for lunch and more often than not, they too become ‘hooked’ - there is just nothing like a simple toasted sandwich made with fresh local ingredients, love and tradition and served at a bustling old market square with familiarity and cheerful cheekiness.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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