Ancient Skills in Cyprus
Our Cyprus Highlights tour guides you through the wonders of the past and the delights of the present on this enchanting island. No matter where we’re helping you travel (we offer luxury getaways everywhere from popular Dubrovnik to the lesser known destinations in Sicily), holidays teeming with authentic experiences are important to us. On this particular tour we reach that goal by paying close attention to the local crafts that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Lefkara Lace and Silverwork
The 1000-year-old town of Lefkara is famous for its traditional crafts. Lace from the region consists of beautiful patterns in white, olive and beige sewn into Irish and French linen. Girls from the age of eight begin to learn these skills from their grandmothers and particular patterns have been passed down for centuries. The authentic embroidery has striking geometric patterns and muted colours.
Delicate silverwork is another craft carefully preserved in Lefkara. Master silver makers use traditional tools and wax moulds to create a variety of beautiful items including ornaments and jewellery. Though some of the designs are ancient, they look strikingly modern and chic in shining silver. On our tour, you will get to see a silversmith in action.
Cheese Making in Choirokitia
Halloumi is an essential part of Cyprian cuisine and the island’s favourite cheese. It has existed on the island for hundreds of years and has embedded itself in the cultural heritage. Before the invention of the refrigerator, halloumi was favoured as it could be stored in brine and lasted much longer than other types of dairy products. However, in rural towns and villages, halloumi making was also a highly social activity. Women from different families would combine the milk they had and process it together before sharing the halloumi produced.
How is it Made?
Fresh sheep or goat’s milk – potentially mixed with cow’s milk – is heated in a large cauldron and mixed with rennet. Once the milk has curdled, the curdles are cut into small pieces and pressed to drain the excess whey. They are then reheated, and it is this second heating stage that gives halloumi its distinctive texture and taste. Before the cheese has cooled, salt and mint are added, and the finished product can be eaten almost immediately. It can also last around forty days if kept in brine (it will gain a harder texture) or over a year if sealed in an earthenware pot with natural whey.
The making of halloumi remains a big business today. Many towns in Cyprus still use traditional methods to create this very popular cheese as you will see on our tour.