Stories and Traditions
The cereals, the vines and olive trees have been cultivated on our island throughout the centuries. Bread, wine and olive oil are still a big part of our diet and in many cases play a ceremonial role in local traditions. Fruits, nuts and vegetables, as well as all kinds of herbs are also cultivated on our island. The abundant sunlight and mild climate conditions give our fresh produce a rich flavor and an intense aroma.
Agriculture has been an important economic sector since antiquity and it dictated the way of life in the rural areas. In the past, the basis of agricultural economy were small family farms, something that is still true today. Prediction of weather phenomena was essential for the planning of a successful crop. The most common method of prediction was, without a doubt, the observation of cloud formations and wind patterns, during the first days of August, the well-known “minallagia“. During these days people observed also the manner in which the birds flew and the moon to make a combined and more accurate predictions.
According to Folklore, people could predict next year’s weather by observing nature during specific days and even hours during the month of August.
The first twelve days of the eighth moon of the year were known as Minallagia, and each day corresponds to a full cycle of the moon, that is one month. Minallagia in Greek means “change of the month”. Observing the weather between the 3rd and the 14th of August, people could predict the weather for each of the next twelve months. Observations on the 3rd of August correspond to the month of August of the following year; those on the 4th of August correspond to the month of September of the following year and so on. Predictions during Minallagia are primarily associated with the movement of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, but also the wind, the humidity and cloud formations, as well as the behavior of birds and the condition of the plants. People “read” and interpret signs such as these: if it is windy, the weather of the respective month will be unstable; if there are white solid clouds, the weather of the respective month will be rainy; if there are dark clouds, the weather of the respective month will be cold.
Even as early as the 19th century many superstitions were associated with these days: people believed that if the carpenter cut wood during these days, the wood would rot, or if the housewives washed clothes, then these would wear out very quickly. People did not work during Minallagia and no weddings took place.
A story: The farmer and the fox
A farmer, whose crops and hencoop suffered greatly from the ravages of foxes, bore a grudge against them. One day, he finally caught one of these animals in a trap and was determined to take his revenge. He tied a piece of rope well soaked in oil to its tail, set it on fire and let it run free. Crazed by pain and fright, the fox ran through a large field of wheat, ready to be harvested. The wheat caught fire and the flames, fanned by the wind, spread over the entire field. The farmer’s crop was destroyed and the fox lost its tail. The farmer returned home grieving and regretting his cruel and thoughtless conduct.
The moral of the story is that revenge is a double-edged knife that cuts both ways.
This collection of local produce takes you through rural areas of the Heartland of Legends route, where you will meet local farmers and gain an insight info our island’s agricultural tradition. There is nothing tastier than a ripe, juicy, fresh fruit, which you have picked yourself. Sink your teeth into the crisp flesh of the apples of Kyperounta village, taste the sweet cherries of Pedoulas village and enjoy a refreshing piece of Kokkinochoria watermelon. Villages renowned for the cultivation of a particular product organize an event or a festival to celebrate their star produce together with locals and visitors to dance, sing, enjoy food and have fun. Visit one such festival, where you will have the opportunity to meet passionate farmers and producers and discover local flavors.
Cyprus potatoes are famous for their excellent flavor and firm texture. They are easily distinguished by their reddish skin, obtained from the fertile red soil of Kokkinochoria region This area is located in the southeast coast of Cyprus. It consists of the following villages: Paralimni, Agia Napa, Deryneia, Sotira, Liopetri, Frenaros, Avgorou, Dasaki Achnas, Vrysoules, Xylofagou and Ormideia. These villages took their name from the red color of their rich soil (kokkino means red and choria means villages). (Red soil villages in the eastern part of Cyprus). This red soil is important because it gives the Cyprus potato its distinct, earthy flavor. Potatoes are also cultivated in the region west of Lefkosia (Akaki, Peristerona and Astromeritis villages). . This red soil is important because it gives the Cyprus potato its distinct, earthy flavor. Potatoes are cultivated also in the region west of Lefkosia (Akaki, Peristerona and Astromeritis villages).
Cyprus potatoes are generally medium to large in size and have an oval to round shape, depending on the specific variety. They have light brown to tan, smooth skin, which is covered in dark brown spots. They are a slightly red in appearance due to the mineral-rich red soils that remain on the raw potato. Its flesh is deep yellow to gold and is firm and dense.
Potatoes are cultivated during two seasons. The spring crop is planted in November/February and harvested in April/June. The planting of the winter crop starts between August and October and the harvesting takes place in November/December. The potatoes are uprooted, collected by hand or with special machines and packaged close to the fields, ensuring the freshness of the product.
When cooked, Cyprus potatoes have a rich, earthy, and buttery flavor. They pair well with mint, parsley, pesto, tomatoes, garlic, onions, lemon, roast lamb, olive oil, white pepper, coriander, oregano, and feta cheese.
Potatoes can be cooked in various ways. From baked, stuffed, boiled potatoes to chips, crisps and mash, there are no limits to the versatility of this humble root vegetable.
PATATES ANTINAKTES (Bouncing Potatoes)
This is a true Cypriot recipe with a funny name and mouthwatering taste! Patates Antinaktes is a side dish, made with whole unpeeled, baby potatoes, which are fried and then cooked in red dry wine, flavored with coriander seeds. Patates Antinaktes means “Bouncing Potatoes”. They have taken their name from the way they are cooked, as in ordered to absorb the wine and the spices, they are tossed in the saucepan with the lid on, bouncing inside it.
This dish is vegan, when served with a salad or it can be served as a side dish with roasted or grilled meat.
- 1 kg small unpeeled baby potatoes
- Olive oil – enough to cover the potatoes
- 2 tbs coriander seeds, crushed
- ½ cup dry red wine
- Salt, pepper
Wash the potatoes, drain and slightly crush them by applying pressure with something heavy, i.e. a flat stone. Heat the olive oil and add the potatoes. Fry over a low heat. When the potatoes are ready, remove most of the oil and add the coriander and the wine. Cook until most of the liquids are absorbed. Continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes. Shake the pan from time to time. Add salt, pepper and serve.
Save the date Find exact dates here
Mid July: Potato Festival in Avgorou. The festival invites all potato lovers to get to know the various Cypriot ways to cook the vegetable. Numerous recipes will be prepared on the spot and offered to the public to taste. All the potatoes used at the festival are locally grown and are provided by the producers of Avgorou to ensure the authentic quality of the product.
Mid-September: International Potato Festival in Xylophagou. The festival takes place at the site of the old Xylophagou Potato Packing Factory. The visitors can enjoy traditional potato dishes made by distinguished chefs.
WATERMELON (KARPOUZI or PATTIHA)
Watermelon is without a doubt the king of the summer fruits. Cyprus summer kicks off with a juicy watermelon slice. Watermelons are harvested between May and August.
Kokkinochoria villages are the main watermelon growers. During watermelon season farmers sell freshly picked watermelons directly from their trucks, which you will find parked on the side of rural roads. Watermelon contains 91% water, 6% sugars and is low in fat. Cypriots, whilst it may seem an unusual pairing, love to eat it with Halloumi cheese.
Save the date Find exact dates here
Mid July: Watermelon Festival in Frenaros. The organizers offer plenty of watermelons and chefs from all over Cyprus present watermelon recipes.
End of July: Watermelon Festival in Akaki. Guests have the opportunity to try different watermelon cocktails and taste watermelon ice cream and watermelon spoon sweets.
Cherry trees grow in the Troodos mountain villages, where the cooler climate suits this tree, which dislikes extremely hot temperatures. Cherries are a powerful, natural anti-inflammatory food. Eating cherries helps digestion, slows down the ageing process, improves the immune and cardiovascular systems and relieves muscle pain.
- Beginning of June: Pedoulas Cherry Festival. The visitor will enjoy a day filled with cherries and products produced from the fruit.
- Beginning of June: Platanistasa Cherry Festival. You will be able to experience all the fun including cherries and other products made of this tasty fruit.
- Beginning of June: Treis Elies Cherry Festival. There is an open air market, where visitors will be able to buy organic products and other traditional items and handicrafts. Cherries of course are the protagonist of the festival.
“In winter they sleep, but in February they blossom, in March they are robust…” This is the beginning of a Cyprus folk song dedicated to the almond tree, which is the harbinger of the approaching springtime and a symbol of nature’s rebirth after the cold winter months. Almond trees shed their leaves in the winter; however, they blossom before they grow new leaves. Almond flowers are white and pleasant to smell. Just before blossoming the flower buds have a slightly rosy color. There are different almond trees varieties and the taste of their nuts determines how they are consumed. Sweet almonds are consumed as table dry nuts, in a variety of dishes, in deserts, in drinks, as well as for the extraction of edible almond milk or almond oil. Bitter almonds are used in the pharmaceutical industry.
Limnatis village is famous for its almond plantations. Nowhere else in Cyprus are there so many almond trees. Tens of thousands of these beautiful trees, planted in rows, they create a spectacular and colorful image in spring when they blossom. The harvest of the almonds takes place in the months of July and August.
“Koufeta Amygdalou Geroskipou” are roasted almonds coated with sugar. They are produced in Geroskipou village and this product has a “Protected Geographical Indication” EU-label. Koufeta have always been a traditional treat, offered during weddings and christenings, directly from a bowl or packaged in beautiful “bombonnieres”. A “bomboniera” is a festive bag, typically made of tulle or satin and tied with ribbons, containing an odd number (3, 5 or 7) of sugar-coated almonds, i.e. bonbons. The bag is often stowed inside a small vessel made of silver, crystal or porcelain. The bonbons are white for a wedding, pink or light-blue for the baptism of a girl or boy.
According to folklore, if you place white koufeta from a wedding under your pillow, you will dream of your future husband/wife.
Save the date Find exact dates here
End of February: Almond Tree Blossom Festival in Limnatis. The festival takes place in the stadium of the village where the visitor can taste a variety of original almond sweets. The festival celebrates the beginning of spring and says farewell to cold winter. Guests can enjoy walks under the blooming almond trees and scent the alluring aroma of the almond flowers.
Mid-September: Almond Festival in Limnatis. The second festival that takes place in Limnatis celebrates the end of the almond harvest season. Guests have the opportunity to taste free almond desserts and traditional products made of almonds.
- Antigoni Konstantinou workshop in Limnatis: Tel: +357 99 653698. Mrs Konstantinou makes almond sweets, almond spoon sweets and much more.
- Agios Irakleidios Convent near Politico village. The nuns that run the convent keep the gardens immaculate and sell various products they make. One of these products is almond spoon sweet, which is a hit among the locals.
Fig trees thrive all over the island and in total 35 different varieties grow on our island. Fig trees were a stable food since antiquity and were traded all over the Mediterranean Sea. Figs can be light green, brown or purple and their flesh can be honey-colored or pink. Figs are fine-grained, sweet and delicious. Fig season starts in August and ends in October.
Tillyria region Tilliria is a mountainous peninsula located at the northwest part of the island between the Chrysochous Bay and Morphou Bay. is famous for its fig trees, of the “koutsino” variety. Kato Pyrgos village is well known for its pastosyka (sun-dried figs). These figs are small in size, white, soft, sweet in taste and are produced between July and September. The fruits are left on the trees to over ripe, they are harvested and placed in special rooms or containers (kilns) and are smoked with sulfur to kill harmful microorganisms. This is a technique dating back to antiquity. Odysseus in Homer’s epic, comments that sulfur was burned to disinfect the places. Wooden barrels, in which they stored wine, were also smoked with burning sulfur to kill fungi and other organisms harmful to the wine. After the smoking process, figs are dried in the sun for 7-10 days and then immersed in boiling water to wash.
In Lysos village locals use a different technique for their also famous sun-dried figs called maxiles. Using a straw, they daub the edge of the figs, while still on the tree, with olive oil. They do this to bring about the simultaneous maturation of all the fruits. After about 7 days, the fruits mature and are collected. The figs are placed on pine needles on the ground for 1-2 days to wilt. Afterwards, they are cut in half and left for 3-4 additional days to dry. They are placed in warm water with fennel for 1-2 minutes, are strained and left to cool/dry.
Save the date
August: Fig Festival in Kato Pyrgos. Visitors are able to enjoy fresh figs and other traditional local products, such as chalitzi, a local cheese.
Story: A mighty Giant
Sykeus was one of the giants, i.e. Titanes who waged war on the ancient gods. Zeus pursued him to the ancient city of Kilikia where his mother Gaia (the Earth) hid him in her bosom and transformed him into the first fig-tree.
TOMATOES (TOMATES, POMYLORKA)
Tomato, the red “queen” of the kitchen, is an edible berry of the plant Solanum lycopersicum. In culinary terms, tomato is regarded as a vegetable and its fruit is classified botanically as a berry. Tomatoes are consumed in many ways, raw or cooked, in many dishes, sauces, salads and drinks. A tomato consists of 95% water, contains 4% carbohydrates and 1% of fat and protein.
Cyprus dedicates 280 hectares for tomato cultivation and the total production is about 16 thousand tones. The planting season is between February and August and the harvesting takes place between June and December. The tomato is grown all over our island, however Odou, Farmakas and Maroni villages are very well known to the locals for their delicious, juicy and fragrant tomatoes.
Sarza tomatas (tomato paste)
From the delicious tomatoes, the local women make homemade tomato paste which they use in yachnista It is used mainly in winter when there are no fresh tomatoes., legumes, potatoes, etc.
Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Pass them through a colander, to melt them. Add salt and stir. Place the melted tomatoes in a cotton bag. Hang the bag in the sun, until the paste is “baked”. Under the bag, place a pan to collect the liquids that fall from the bag. Stir the content of the bag every day and add salt, if needed. At night put the bag indoors, for protection from moisture. When the sauce is “cooked” (i.e. it gets the texture and density of the paste), we place it in glass jars, which we close well and keep in a cool and shady place.
It is a traditional Cypriot food made with tomatoes and eggs.
- 8 large ripe tomatoes
- 4 eggs
- 4 tbs olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of basil or marjoram
- ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Salt and pepper
Wash the tomatoes and grate them. Put the tomatoes in a saucepan and let them boil until the liquids evaporate. Put the olive oil in a saucepan and add the tomatoes. Bake for 4-5 minutes (to remove the acids from the tomatoes). Beat the eggs and add them to the saucepan, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Add the basil, salt and pepper and serve
Save the date
Last weekend of August: Tomato Festival in Farmakas village. Tomato Festival is taking place at the village’s square. There is a presentation on how to prepare various traditional village dishes and sweets with tomatoes as the main ingredient.
- Ktima Dymatou in Dymes village: Tel: +357 99 328857
This farm of the 70 hectares is filled with fruit orchards and the owners produce Apple Cider Vinegar oak barrel aged, Handmade Jams and Fresh Tomato Puree.
- Niki sweets in Agros village: Tel: +357 25 521400
Mrs Niki Agathocleous Ltd apart from the spoon sweets, marmalades, soutzioukos, carob syrup, grape syrup and sweets that she makes, she is also well known for her pure tomato puree made from 100% natural tomatoes.
- Elenis Homemade Sweets in Farmakas village: +357 99 762827
Eleni`s workshop is situated in the tomato village of Cyprus. It comes as no surprise that she makes pure tomato puree. Join her also to learn the secrets of spoon sweets.
Hazelnut trees grow the Pitsilia region the region east of Mount Olympos is known as Pitsilia and includes about 40 villages. These villages nestle on the mountainside and maintain much of their traditional charm. , on the north side the Troodos Mountains, from Madari to Papoutsa peaks and cover an area of 300 hectares. Most of the trees grow near the villages of Alona, Askas, Fterikoudi, Platanistasa, Polystypos and Agros.
Pitsilia hazelnuts are of mainly two varieties: “Makroula” (Corylus maxima), which is a local (gr Ntopia) variety and “Peratika” (Corylus avellana). Harvesting takes place in August, when the shells containing the nuts can be easily removed from their leafy outside. The nuts are de-shelled and left to dry in for about a week.
Save the date Find exact dates here
Beginning of August: Platanistasa Hazelnut Festival. The festival takes place at the village square. Kiosks are set up where you can taste and buy hazelnut products. Guided walks to the hazelnut forest and visits to the village’s churches and the Folk Art Museum are organized during the festival.
The carob tree has been thriving in Cyprus since ancient times. Carob trees grow mainly on low mountainous slopes and rocky soils, from sea level up to an altitude of about 800 meters. Apart from some limited quantities intended for local consumption, the production of carob honey and the traditional sweet “Pasteli”, most of the carob production was transported – within two or three months of their harvest – to the country’s ports and from there it was exported in bulk.
Carob honey was considered the black gold of Cyprus, as it was an important source of income for the rural population.
It is a traditional sweet made of carob syrup. Today, the traditional preparation method is practiced only in Anogyra village, and only in the cooler months of the year, between September and May, because pasteli does not shape well in a warm environment.
The traditional recipe for producing pasteli starts with the selection of large, ripe carobs – which are juicy – and they are washed with plenty of water. The carobs are then coarsely ground and placed in wicker baskets, which are hung over cauldrons. They are left hanging for about twenty-four hours, during which time they are frequently sprinkled with water. Slowly the carob juice “sherepetti” drains from the baskets into the cauldrons. The juice is then transferred into a bigger cauldron and is boiled over low heat for about 5-6 hours until it thickens into a honey-like consistency, i.e. carob honey. Τhe carob honey is then boiled for another 3 hours, stirring constantly until it thickens and becomes a dark brown mass, which is left on a slab to cool. To knead the pasteli this mass is cut in smaller pieces, is hung from a pole fixed to the wall and is “work” by hand, i.e. is pulled, stretched and wrapped repeatedly, until its colour turns gold. It is then cut into individual sized portions with a chisel.
During the harvest of the carobs, locals used to bake a dessert called “Terzellouthkia” (loop or spiral shaped dough cookies) with carob honey. They are special cookies made of dough, which are first cooked in water and then in carob honey. The name derives from their shape, which resembles door handles (terzellia) found on traditional house doors.
1 kg flour
3 glasses of water
1/3 cup oil (peanut oil)
1 teaspoon of salt
3 glasses of carob honey
Sift the flour. Add the oil, water and add a teaspoon of salt and knead. When the dough is well kneaded, make it into a ball and cover it with a towel for about 2 hours. Cut a piece of dough and knead it into a thin, long string. Cut the dough string into pieces about 8 cm to make loops or 10 cm to roll it into spirals.Repeat for the rest of the dough. Fill two pots, one with the water and one with the carob honey. First, boil terzellouthkia in hot water until they are cooked. Remove them with a perforated ladle, put them into the carob honey and continue to cook for 20 minutes.
More to see
The Old Carob mill in Lemesos (behind Lemesos Medieval Castle): The Old Carob Mill was built in 1900, at a time when carobs were a major export good. Carobs were used to make a wide variety of products such as photographic film plates, medicines, sweets and chocolates. The building is divided into two areas: the restored Carob Mill – where the machinery used in processing the carobs is preserved and displayed – and the arts and exhibition area of the Evagoras Lanitis Centre.
Save the date Find exact dates here
- Beginning of September: Pasteli festival at Anogyra village, which was once a main carob-grower and is famous for its traditional sweet ‘Pasteli’. The festivities include demonstration of “Pasteli” traditional preparation.
- Beginning of September: Carob festival at Pegeia village, at the St. George’s Square. Traditional dishes such as “terzelloudkia”, “pasteli”, Anari cheese with carob syrup are prepared onsite.
Did you know that the word carat comes from the Greek kerátion, a diminutive of the word ‘keras’ which means ‘horn’? The seeds inside the horn-shaped carobs were used to measure the weight of gold, because people believed that every seed weighted the same. However, this is not true, as their mass varies about as much as the seeds of other species. Nowadays, carats are still used to measure diamond weight and one carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams.
Carobs were also known as the “bread of St John the Baptist”. According to the Bible, carobs were an important part of his diet and they kept him alive.
- “To Paradosiako” workshop: Tel: +357 25221500
KOLOKASI (Colocasia Esculentum)
Kolokasia plant, commonly known as kolokasi (Eng. Taro root), is an edible root vegetable. Kolokasi planting starts at the end of February and continues until May. Harvest begins in September and finishes in May. It has a large central root system along with many side-roots. It has beautiful fan shaped, non-edible leaves, which are particularly robust to pests attacks and diseases, therefore the expression, “you are like a taro leaf” (cy. eisai opos to kolokasófyllo) describes a person who is not easily bothered or upset by events, that would greatly affect others.
It is cultivated mainly in the red soil fields of Kokkinochoria (red soil villages), especially around Sotira village which cultivates 85% of Cyprus’ total Kolokasi production. “Kolokasi Sotiras” is a name registered as “Protected Designation of Origin” and “Protected Geographical Indication”.
Kolokasi is a healthy food, very nutritious and strengths the immune system. It is rich in protein and carbohydrates, is a good source of vitamins A and C, and also contains fiber and amino acids. Kolokasi is cooked in various ways with or without meat or as Kapamas with wine (very well-known recipe in Kokkinochoria region).
1 kg of pork (or lamb or goat or chicken) cut in medium size pieces
1 kg of kolokasi
4 cups red dry wine
1 ½ cups of water
Oil for frying (sunflower oil, corn oil)
1 teaspoon salt
Peel kolokasi, wipe it with a towel (do not wash it) and cut it into lengthwise slices.
Put the meat in a bowl and pour wine to cover it and let the meat marinate for 3-4 hours. Do the same with the kolokasi slices. Pour plenty of oil in a pan and fry the meat. When is done, take it out and put it in a large pot. Then, fry the kolokasi. Place the meat in a pot, arrange the kolokasi slices on top, add the water and simmer with the remaining wine. Add salt and continue cooking on low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Save the date Find exact dates here
Mid September (Bi-annually): Sotira Kolokasi Gastronomy Night. Distinguished chefs present at the gastronomic festival their own Kolokasi inspired recipes.
The earliest reference of Cyprus Kolokasi dates back to 1191, which inform us that kolokasi was served at the celebration dinner for the wedding of Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart, with Berengaria of Navarre at the Limassol Castle.
There are more than 8000 apple varieties! In Cyprus we have two indigenous varieties: kathista and lortika. Apple trees are cultivated on the Troodos Mountains, in the Pitsilia area, where the climate is cooler and they thrive especially in Kyperounta village. Kyperounta produces about one third of the total production of apples and pears.
Save the date
Every 2nd weekend of October: Apple Festival. Enjoy apple pies, fried apples, apple jams, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, apple zivania” Zivania or zivana is a Cypriot pomace brandy produced from the distillation of a mixture of grape pomace and local dry wines made from Xynisteri and Mavro grapes. The
name of zivania is derived from zivana which means pomace in the Greek dialect of Cyprus., liqueur and beer with an apple touch!
- Ktima Dymatou in Dymes village: Tel: +357 99328857
This farm of the 70 acres is filled with fruit orchards and the owners produce Apple Cider Vinegar oak barrel aged, Handmade Jams and Fresh Tomato Puree.
- Militsa Apple Cider in Farmakas village: Tel: +357 22585830
About 120 hectares are cultivate with Pomegranate trees, however countless trees grow in home yards and small family orchards all over our island. The bulk of the production is mainly for local consumption. Harvest time is September to November and the best time to collect the fruits is during the morning hours or late in the afternoon. Cyprus’ pomegranates are surprisingly sweet, with small soft seeds. They can be eaten raw, squeezed into juice or in salads and desserts. The fruit is full of vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin K, folate, and dietary fibers.
According to local folklore, Pomegranates are symbols of luck, prosperity, fertility and regeneration.
On New Year’s Eve, families gather outside the front door of their houses and when the clock strikes midnight, they trash a pomegranate hard on the floor in front of the door. The more seeds scatter on the floor, the luckier the New Year will be.
Save the date
End of September: Pomegranate Festival in Ormidia. The visitors can enjoy Cypriot food, sweets, local pomegranate fruits and pomegranate products.
Cyprus olives are of the local tree variety that is cultivated throughout our island and up to an altitude of about 700 m. Olives and olive oil were exported since ancient times. Archaeological excavations unearthed olive pits and remains of ancient olive stone presses all over the island.
Green Olives intended for table consumption are harvested by hand from late September and the black ones from late October. Traditionally, olives are prepared in three different ways.
Green olives are slightly crashed using a flat stone (experts do this with a single stroke). The olives are then stored in bottles with water, salt and lemon. To prepare them for consumption, a portion of these olives is placed in a bowl adding crashed coriander seeds, a piece of crushed garlic, olive oil and salt.
Black olives are washed and then preserved in big containers with plenty of salt. They are consumed in portions, after they are washed. Black olives are also preserved in vinegar “xydates”.
Olives intended for oil extraction are harvested when the olives have turned black by 2/3. After harvest, the olives are transported within 1 – 2 days to the olive press.
Cyprus olives are part of the daily diet of Cypriots. They are served at breakfast, as a side dish, mashed as dips, in salads and appetizers. They are also used in pastry and confectionery.
Ancient Olive trees and olive groves
Ancient trees, which managed to survive throughout the centuries are considered “Monuments of Nature”. Our Forestry Department has identified 115 individual trees and 27 tree groves such monuments. Some of the most important ancient olive trees and groves are
- 800 years old olive tree in Kyperounta village. It is 5m tall and a perimeter of 8.10m
- 800 years old olive tree in Lefkara village. It is 4m tall and a perimeter of 7.20m
- 700 years old olive tree in Agglisides village. It is 6m tall and a perimeter of 10.35m
- 700 years old olive tree in Avdimou village. It is 5m tall and a perimeter of 8.70m
- 28 olive trees near Germasogeia village
- 43 olive trees near Anogyra village
- and 18 olive trees near Pano Lefkara village.
Save the date
Mid-September: Green olive (Tsakkisti elia) festival in Tseri, Nicosia. A festival full of traditional delicacies and products.
End of September – 02/10/2022: Green olive (Tsakkisti elia) festival in Episkopi, Lemesos. You can visit the olive press and a photo exhibition. Dishes with olives are served for the guests.
Beginning of October: Olive Tree Day at the Olive Park “Oleastro” in Anogyra. A day dedicated to the olive tree. The program includes cooking demonstrations, preparing pasteli, halloumi and olive pie making.
End of October: Olive and Aromas Festival in Evrychou. You can visit an exhibition of traditional tools used in olive cultivation. There is also a presentation of dishes with olives as the main ingredient.
Two olive branches are displayed on the Cypriot flag as a peace symbol.
The famous archaeologist Dr. Chadwick has recognized 2 separate symbols for the wild and the cultivated olive tree on the Linear B tablets of Knosos, in Crete, demonstrating that both tree varieties were equally important in the ancient world. The wild olives were used for the production of perfumes while the cultivated ones for human consumption. Archaeological evidence from Pyrgos – Mavrorachi, near Lemesos, has brought to light the earliest perfumery, where olive oil was used on an industrial scale to produce perfumes.
More to see
Olive museum in Agglisides village: the Museum presents the conection between Cypriots and the olive tree throughout the Ages and the evolution of olive production, cultivation and harvesting. The museum is built next to a 700 years old olive tree (Monument of Nature).
- Olive Park “Oleastro” in Anogyra village: The educational and recreational Olive Park Oleastro features outdoor themes on the olive tree. Indoors, it consists of a state-of-the-art ecological olive mill, a museum, a restaurant, a store specializing in olive products, a video room, bottling, and storing facilities. Tel: +357 99565768, +357 99525093 https://www.oleastro.com.cy/en/
- Terra Oliva Organic Olive Farm in Lefkara village: Terra Oliva farm has more than 7000 olive trees and hundreds of ancient olive trees aged between 300 and 800 years old. There are Olive oil tasting courses and the visitor can taste other olive products as well such as οlive paste, traditional olive sweets and olive jam.
Tel: +357 99409223, +357 24343000 https://www.olivaterra.eu/EN/
By the early to mid-1980s, most traditional olive oil production facilities had been updated or entirely replaced by modern olive oil presses. You can watch the olive oil production by visiting one of these modern olive oil presses:
- “King Of Olives” in Agglisides village: Tel: +357 24 109 410
- Trifyllaris Olive grove and Olive oil production in Alethriko village: Tel: +357 24432597, +357 99444078
- Theocharis Olive press in Agglisides village: Tel: +357 99362545
Our island is among the top five citrus fruit cultivators in the EU. Citrus tree plantations are located in the south west near Lemesos and Pafos and in the west towards Lefkosia. In Cyprus, a wide range of soil types coupled with a number of unique microclimates, favor the production of a variety of citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, bergamots and soft citrus.
Cyprus has a reputation for high quality oranges and the main varieties grown here are Navel, Oval and Valencia. Cyprus lemons are thin-skinned, juicy and our island produces lemons both in the winter and in spring. The Cyprus grapefruit is juicy and sweet, because of the virtually perfect growing conditions. Soft citrus, such as mandarins and clementines, but also mandoras, which are a cross of the mandarin and the orange, also grow here. Bergamot is about the size of an orange; its color is yellowish and is very aromatic. This fruit is not edible raw as it is very sour, but its peel and flesh is used to make marmalades, spoon sweets and liqueurs. Its zest can be used in cakes and cookies.
Traditionally cypress trees are planted around citrus orchards, where they border country roads. These trees grow and form “green tunnels” over the country roads. During the flowering season, you can walk these roads and enjoy the enchanting aroma of the citrus flowers.
September: Orange Festival in Miliou. The event takes place at the Agias Paraskevis church square at the heart of the village. The guests can purchase all kinds of traditional products made from oranges, including sweets and jams, liquors, juices, and fresh fruit. Special beer with orange flavor is offered as well.
- Filfar Liqueur House in Monagri village: The visitor can see the process of making Filfar as well as sampling the liqueurs. You can enjoy Filfar in its original Orange flavor, or you can go for Lemon, Mandarin and the brand new Filfar Bergamot. Tel: +357 25556800 +357-99649401 c/o Mr Demos Aristidou https://www.filfar.com/
In Cyprus, banana cultivation has found a hospitable subtropical environment in the Pafos coastal zone and especially in the areas of Kissonerga – Pegeia. The landscape from Coral Bay to Agios Georgios villages is filled with the vivid green color of banana plantations.
The Cypriot bananas, when compared to the imported ones, are smaller, but with a special aroma and a unique exquisite taste. The cultivated variety is Dwarf Cavendish, which has a low trunk and has adapted well to our island’s climate. Harvest starts in October and lasts until April.
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and are rich in fiber, carbohydrate and vitamin B6 and C.
- Leonidas Manoli Banana plantations: Tel: +357 99476238
- Stelios Papageorgiou Banana plantations: Tel: +357 341977
Strawberries are widely appreciated for their sweet aroma, bright red color and juicy texture. They are consumed either fresh or in jams, juices, pies and ice cream.
Deryneia village is by far the biggest strawberry producer. The fertile red soil in the area favors strawberry cultivation. The strawberries are naturally pollinated. Harvest time starts from November until June.
Save the date Find exact dates here
May (Bi-Annually): Strawberry festival in Deryneia. The organizers of the festival offer free fresh strawberries, strawberry juice, jam, liquor, candy, ice cream etc.
- Panikos Yianoukkos Strawberry plantations: Tel: +357 99640932, +357 23825491 https://www.facebook.com/CyprusStrawberries/
- Doros Karpasitis Strawberry plantations: Tel: +357 99622646
Mandarins are grown mainly in the area of the villages of Arakapas and Dierona. The trees are of the Citrus Reticulate Blanco variety, which adapted perfectly to the soil and climate conditions of the semi-mountainous area around Arakapas. Arakapas mandarins are very aromatic and juicy. The outer skin is thin and smooth and is easily removed. The mandarins ripe in December-March and can be consumed fresh, or in juices, fresh juices, jams and liqueurs.
Save the date: March: Mandarin Festival at Dierona village, where you can enjoy mandarins and mandarinada (mandarin juice).
- “Gevsis paradosis” workshop in Arakapas: c/o Charoulla Georgiou. Specialized in traditional spoon sweets, mandarinada, jams. Tel: +357 25623262, +357 96529723, +357 99205161 https://www.facebook.com/gevsisparadosis/
- Ktima Alkiviadi in Dierona: c/o Andri Alkiviadi. Tel: +357 99361425. This workshop produces homemade spoon sweets, mandarin distillation, mandarinada, mandarin halvas, jams, liqueurs, mandarin squash and mandarin scrub for body exfoliation. https://www.instagram.com/ktimaalkiviades/
Harvest Festival Calendar
Health protocols implemented to deal with COVID 19 pandemic have led to the cancellation or postponement of festivals, which require large gatherings. Our Harvest Festivals Calendar includes annual/ bi-annual events and are listed here to help you organize your next trip. We will update our calendar according to the latest developments, however please check with the event organizers before visiting.