Cyprus BBQ goes friendly to earth and heart

Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:20am EDT
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By Sarah Ktisti

NICOSIA (Reuters Life!) - The Cypriot equivalent of a national sport -- the barbeque -- has taken on a healthier and ecological twist in the form of the "eco-souvla".

Souvla, meaning barbecue in Greek, is probably the Cypriots' best-loved pastime bar watching football, drinking coffee and smoking.

And it is easy to understand why it is so difficult to resist the temptation of having a nibble on the charcoal-cooked meat or fish on offer -- the beguiling smell of barbequed meat wafts through the air on this eastern Mediterranean island most days.

It smells and tastes great, but experts say it is also unhealthy. Doctors have blamed barbequed meat for the majority of heart attacks in Cypriots, and the residue of coal fumes mixed with fat dripping is widely said to be carcinogenic.

Now, a new-fangled contraption could vanquish all these problems. The eco-souvla. Its inventor, 54-year-old mechanical engineer Kyriacos Parmatzis, says his device is environmentally friendly and easy on the heart.

"The meat is softer, healthier and there is no carbon dioxide on it," he said.

His reasoning is simply that with no smoke given off from the charcoal used in the barbeque, no carbon dioxide is being emitted into the atmosphere and the meat avoids being smoked-out by carcinogenic fumes.

"There is no fuel involved in lighting the charcoal, and the only smoke emitted is when you first light the coals," he said.   Continued...