Cyprus potatoes are generally medium to large in size and are oval to round in shape, varying in both sizes and shape depending on the specific variety. The light brown to tan skin is smooth, fairly even, and is covered in dark brown spots with a slightly red appearance due to the mineral-rich red soils that remain on the raw potato. Its flesh is a deep yellow to gold and is firm, slippery, and dense. When cooked, Cyprus potatoes have a rich, earthy, and buttery flavour.
Cyprus potatoes are available year-round, with peak season in the fall through winter and again in the spring.
Cyprus potatoes, botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum ‘Cyprus’, are members of the Solanaceae, or nightshade family. Also known as Cypriot, Cyprus potatoes is a general name given to describe a number of varieties of potatoes grown on the island of Cyprus. The main varieties grown today are Diamant, Marfona, Nicola, Ditta, Accent, Filea, Charlotte, Burren, Obelix, Slaney, and Spunta. Cyprus potatoes are known for being grown on family farms that contain rich, red alluvial soil, and this soil is what gives the Cyprus potato its unique, earthy taste.
Cyprus potatoes contain vitamin C and B6, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and folic acid.
Cyprus potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, boiling, baking, frying, or steaming. In addition to their popularity as a fresh produce item, they are also commonly sold to chip and crisp manufacturers. A multitude of Cyprus varieties exist and are grown specifically to meet the needs of varying markets and potato preferences. Marfona and Cara are ideal as a baking potato. Belgian and German markets prefer a good salad potato such as Charote, Annabella, Nicola, and Filea. When a floury potato is desired, Slaney and Cara are an excellent choice. Cyprus potatoes pair well with mint, parsley, pesto, tomatoes, garlic, onions, lemon, roast lamb, olive oil, white pepper, coriander, oregano, and feta cheese. Do not refrigerate or store Cyprus potatoes in direct sunlight. They will keep up to two weeks when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
There has been an onset of other growers outside of Cyprus cultivating and distributing potatoes under the Cyprus name. This has inspired the Cyprus Potato Marketing Board to push for a focus on referring to the potatoes as “red soil potatoes” rather than Cyprus to create demand for Cyprus potatoes that are grown in the island’s unique soils only. This red soil is important because it is known in places like the United Kingdom as the reason the Cyprus potato has its distinct, earthy flavour. On the island of Cyprus, this red soil is brought from the centre of the island out to the coast just to grow these potatoes.
Cyprus potatoes originated on the island of Cyprus, which is the third-largest island located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The seed potatoes used to grow Cyprus potatoes mainly come from Holland, and a small amount comes from Scotland. Cyprus potatoes are almost exclusively grown in Cyprus and are the number one export crop of Cyprus today. Cyprus potatoes are distributed throughout Europe and are particularly popular in the United Kingdom, Greece, Ukraine, and Russia.