LEFKARITIKOS TTAVAS (Lefkara village, September)
Pretty as a picture-postcard, Lefkara village is situated in the Larnaka mountainous region. The old village houses are built of white stone with masterfully crafted tiled roofs. The old houses are not those of farmers, but the homes of merchants and artisans with charming inner courtyards, welcoming socializing.
Religious holidays are always an excuse for a Festival (gr Paniyiri). Every Cypriot village has a patron Saint. Lefkara has a lot of churches and chapels, but the most important one, is that of the Church of the Holy Cross. The Holy Cross is celebrated on the 14th September. The Festival sprawls around the Church and you can feel the cheerful atmosphere as you walk through the stalls at which locals sell all kinds of products. The most typical products, which are usually sold at these religious festivals, are called ‘panairkotika’: fresh fruits, nuts, local sweets, baskets, pottery and of course, local embroideries – the Lefkaritika.
This religious festival is the perfect occasion for the village to celebrate its famous, signature dish “Lefkaritikos Ttavas” therefore a feast is organized around the dates of the religious Festival. Ttavas is a delicious Cypriot dish, resembling a stew, that is full of flavour and it has been made for centuries at Lefkara. Lamb or goat meat is placed in a clay pots with the rice and then is covered with layers of onions, tomatoes and potatoes, and spiced with salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Then olive oil and water are added; the pots are sealed and placed in ovens for about 3-4 hours. In the afternoon, an intense, spicy, mouthwatering smell will draw you to the village’s Primary School. At the School’s courtyard, local women prepare the famous dish and offer to visitors small portions to taste. Traditional bands provide the entertainment. If you are not satisfied with your free ttavas portion, ask for a second or even better visit one of the local taverns to enjoy a full portion of ttavas accompanied by a local wine or local beer.
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