When you go to order a kebab or “souvlaki” in Cyprus, chances are you will be asked, “Mix?. The “ed” gets dropped off in translation. You are being asked if you would like your kebab to be a mix of pork and “seftalia”. It will sound like “sheftalia”. There is no way of writing the sound “sh” or “ch” in Greek, which is why you will often hear Greeks in England talk of “soos” and “tsockolate” instead of “shoes” and “chocolate”. Yet they are not difficult sounds for the Greeks (the way the Greek ‘h’ is for the English) and in the Cypriot and Cretan dialects these sounds are frequently heard..
But I digress. I am supposed to be talking about food. “Seftalia” (Seftalies in the plural) is a delicious Cyprus speciality resembling a meat ball. It consists of minced meat, usually pork and beef (but lamb can be found too) packed with herbs including parsley and very finely chopped onion and wrapped in caul fat. Seftalies are like sausages that have no skins but are held together with the caul.
They need to be grilled on fairly low heat, preferably charcoal, for 20-30 minutes.
If you are having a barbecue in Cyprus, Seftalies are a “Must-include-on-the-Menu”. You can have them in pitta bread with salad (particularly good when mixed with souvlaki) or on their own or with a “Tzatziki” dip.
For the best Tzatziki - Make your own!