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Oct 1, 2019

Project Rural Flavours met in Cyprus

A study tour of the Rural Flavors project brought 5 entrepreneurs from Hiiumaa to Cyprus to attend a fair and get to know small businesses in Cyprus on 19-22 of September 2019. Cyprus tastes are of many variety - as is naturally suited to the southern part of Europe. The flavors of locust and grape were particularly highlighted. The stories of carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) were made to be very interesting for us because it plays an important role in the local food culture. We remember from the tales of our mothers and grandmothers from their childhood, that almost the only sweet in Estonia, and also in Hiiumaa, were the carob pods. In Cyprus grits are milled for flour (nowadays known as thickener and stabilizer E410) and syrup is made. Locust seeds have been used in ancient times for weighing gold and gemstones because of their uniform size and weight. Carat comes from the local name Carob.

The taste of the grape was evident in the peculiar Cypriot delicacy of Palouse and Commanderia wine, a geographical product protected by the European Union. Palouse is made in almost every village where the grape grows. Commanderia wine production is limited by certain rules.

We heard several times about Commandaria wine during the few days that we were in Cyprus because of the importance of this wine in the marketing of Cyprus. Commandaria is an amber-colored sweet dessert wine made in the Commandaria area of ​​Cyprus on the Troöd slopes. Commandaria is made from sun-dried grape varieties Xynisteri and Mavro. Alcohol levels are high, up to 15%. The wine is protected by the EU designation of origin because it represents an ancient wine documented in Cyprus as early as 800 BC. It is the oldest wine in the world still in production, the name Commandaria dates back to the Crusades in the 12th century, when the English King Richard the Lion Heart reached Cyprus and tasted sweet wine at his wedding. Today, wine production is well regulated: ripe grapes must be sun-dried for up to 2 weeks. The state controlls the technology from crushing the berries and fermenting the juice. The wine must be aged in barrels for at least 2 years before it can be bottled. We saw the wine stored in a separate locked cellar, under the watchful eyes of the local wine department. Commandment is a wine that can be stored in bottles for many years.

The main task of the project partners was to participate in a local fair organized by a small village about an hour away from Limassol. It is safe to say that the fair was successful and made a good impression.

Video produced by the Cyprus team

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