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Traditional products

Several traditional products and dishes are made in our community. In particular, the residents of our community produce “halloumi” cheese, frumenty and yoghurt using milk as the main ingredient, whereas they use honey made from carobs to make “buns covered by carob honey”. Moreover, using grape juice they produce the traditional red wine of Cyprus called Commandaria, the also traditional alcohol drink “zivania”, as well as various dishes such as “soutzoukos”, “raisins”, “kiofterka” and “palouzes”. Additionally, they deal with the production of various cold-cuts such as sausages and “pastourmas”, as well as with the production of rosewater.     

In several households of the village the residents produce the traditional white cheese of Cyprus called “halloumi”, which is mainly made from ovine or goat milk. To make “halloumi”, people first boil milk in a deep copper utensil, whereas at the same time they add a coagulant called “pidkia”. Next, once the milk has coagulated, a compact mass is created which is left to cool so that they will be able to cut it into square shaped pieces. Following, the makers of “halloumi” place these pieces in a container filled with holes called “talarin”, while at the same time they press them so that any fluids will be completely removed. The fluid that flows after pressing the “halloumi” cheese is called “noros” and is gathered in a container so that it can be used as the main ingredient for the making of more cheese, whereas it is also used for preserving the “halloumi” cheese. Afterwards, these pieces of “halloumi” cheese are placed in a container called “hartzin” and sank into “noros” to mature. Once the pieces of “halloumi” cheese start floating on the surface of “hartzin”, this means that they must be removed from the household utensil with the help of a perforated spoon. Then, using the palm of their hand, the makers of “halloumi” spread salt on the cheese, fold the pieces in the middle and add mint. Finally, once the “halloumi” is cool, they store it in plastic containers filled with “noros” for preservation, whereas in the past they used to place the “halloumi” in clay-made containers.

However, apart from “halloumi”, the housewives of the village make yoghurt as well. Firstly, they boil the milk in a large cooking pot constantly churning it so that rind is not created. They heat and churn until the milk is boiled. Next, they allow it to cool and then they start adding two spoons of yoghurt rennet for every eight litres of milk. The next step is to place the mixture above the fire and heat it until it reaches a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. Later, they strain the mixture and finally, once they have placed it in clay containers, they cover it with blankets and let it coagulate for two and a half hours.    

Another traditional food made in the village is frumenty.  The making of frumenty requires milk-whey and thickly milled wheat. The first stage of the making of frumenty involves placing the milk in a clay container for about two weeks so that it will become sour. Once the milk is ready it is poured in a container called “hartzin” while adding wheat at the same time and then they place the mixture above fire. Next, they constantly churn the mixture so that it will become mash. Following, the makers of frumenty allow the mixture to cool so that they can move on with the cutting of frumenty in small circular ball-shaped pieces, which are then dried by being spread on straw made trays and placed under the sun.

One of the most delicious dishes still made in the village, mainly during fasting, is the one of buns covered with carob honey. Preparing this traditional dish requires flour, water and carob honey. Their taste is quite unique because they are baked in the broth produced by boiled carobs. The village is also well known for its famous wine, as well as for the production of traditional byproducts of grapes such as “palouze”, “soutzouko” and the alcohol drink of “zivania”.   

Additionally, as it has been mentioned earlier, the villagers produce the traditional red wine of Cyprus called “Commandaria” and the also traditional alcohol drink of “zivania”. Vine-dressers, immediately after harvesting their grapes, initiate the procedure for the production of “Commandaria”. After the harvest, they spread their grapes under the sun to blight and then they press them to extract their must. Afterwards, the must is placed in wine-tanks where the necessary ferment takes place, whereas in the end the alcohol produced, meaning “Commandaria”, is stored in oak barrels to age. 

“Zivania” is a second traditional byproduct of grapes. In particular, “zivania” is produced using the peel and bunches of grapes which are actually left-overs of the procedure for the production of “Commandaria”.  In particular, these peels and bunches are transferred in large clay jars where they are left for 15 to 20 days so that the necessary ferment will take place. Next, the solid remains called “zivana” are placed for two hours in a boiler, the still, and then the heat creates steam which passes through a cooper tube which is placed in a large clay jar filled with cold water. The production procedure is complete with the liquidisation of “zivania”.  

What is more, the villagers process grapes in order to produce “raisins”, a kind of dried grape. In particular, they spread the grapes under the sun after sinking them in a special mixture. Once the grapes have remained exposed to the sun for approximately ten days, the raisins are ready.

Also produced from grape juice are traditional sweets called “palouzes”, “soutzoukos” and “kiofterka”. To make “palouzes”, the villagers originally pour the juice into a utensil called “hartzin” and then, they boil the juice. While the juice is heating, they add flour in the “hartzin” while churning the mixture at the same time. After a lot of churning, “palouzes” is ready. Once the “palouzes” is completed, usually starts the making of “soutzoukos”. In particular, the makers sink pieces of thread in “palouzes”, which have already been covered with almond and walnut crumb. “Kiofterka” is another kind of sweets made using “palouzes”. More specifically, “kiofterka” is in fact dried “palouzes” cut into small square pieces.     

The residents of Agios Constantinos are also used to making traditional cold-cuts such as sausagesand “pastourmas”. The sausages are made of minced pork meat, wine, salt and spices, whereas “pastourmas” is usually made of beef, garlic, salt and spices.  

Finally, the residents of Agios Constantinos also deal with the production of rosewater. They use a still which consists of two basic parts, the boiler and the barrel. The roses are placed in the boiler and water is added in it. While the boiler is placed above fire, water vapour is created which flows into the barrel with the water through a tube. Once the vapour has been liquidized, the scented rosewater is ready. 

Ionas Ioannis, Traditional Cyprus Professions, Nicosia, 2001, pp.541-544
Agios Constantinos Community Council 
Kyprou D. Theophano – Protopapa D. Kalliopi, Traditional Ferments of Cyprus, Their usage and their importance to folk life, Nicosia, 1997, pp.149 and 178.

 December 2020

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