Greek cuisine will always be close to my heart as I have fond memories of working in Cyprus. This Mediterranean cuisine, shares numerous characteristics with Middle Eastern cuisines of the region. Contemporary Greek cookery makes wide use of olive oil, vegetables and herbs, grains and bread, wine, fish, and various meats, including lamb, poultry, rabbit and pork. Also important are olives, cheese, eggplant (aubergine), zucchini (courgette), and yogurt. Greek desserts are characterized by the dominant use of nuts and honey. Some dishes use filo pastry. Meze is a collective name for a variety of small dishes, typically served with wines or anise-flavored liqueurs such as ouzo. Orektika is the formal name for appetizers and is often used as a reference to eating a first course of a cuisine other than Greek cuisine. Dips are served with bread loaf or pita bread. In some regions, dried bread (paximadhi) is softened in water.