By Bejay Browne
A PAPHOS butcher, his brother and two other village butchers have applied for EU recognition of Paphos sausages, which they say are unique.
Leonidas Kolios of Kolios butchery and delicatessen in Paphos, his brother Marios Kolios of Kolios winery in Statos-Ayios Fotios, and two local butchers from the same area, Costas Charalambous and Vangelis Alexandrou, have applied for a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for “Pafitiko Loukaniko” from the EU.
A PGI is open to agricultural products which must be produced, prepared or processed within the geographical area and have a reputation, features or certain qualities attributable to the area
“We made an initial application a few years ago and everything has been sent in. We are not registered yet but are hoping that this may happen in another few weeks,” said Leonidas Kolis.
According to the European Commission website, the application received ‘published’ status on June 6.
Kolis said that the group feel PGI status would be well-deserved because Paphos sausages are quite distinct from those made elsewhere in Cyprus.
“We want to make them only in Paphos. Many people try to make them like us, but they’re not the same. They don’t use the same wine or the same recipes. Only we know exactly how to make them,” he said.
Leonidas’ brother, Marios Kolios said that they recently received a letter from the ministry of agriculture confirming that if there were no objections the four would be granted their application.
“I had to send in all sorts of information about how to make the sausages. They asked me if my grandmother made the sausages. I explained everything and how we have made them for generations, at least a hundred years. I also sent in photographs of my mum making them around twenty or thirty years ago,” the butcher said.
So what makes the Paphos sausage so special?
“First the wine which is used, it is from Paphos and a lot is used. Also, the size of the mince (pork) is larger than in other sausages, and it’s not cooked,” said Leonidas.
Whereas most sausages are smoked, Paphos sausages are air dried at around 45 degrees.
“We also add black pepper, cinnamon, coriander and salt. Paphos sausages have been around for more than one hundred years,” he said.
“We make our own sausages obviously; as did my family before me. I applied for the PGI with the other three who are from Statos-Ayios Fotios village, which is where the wine comes from.”
In fact, the wine used is from the family winery which is run and operated by his brother Marios.
And the type and quantity of wine is crucial.
“We don’t want the sausages to come out too black in colour so, depending on the wine, we usually add around half red and half white to balance the colour. This is the secret. It has to be a dry red wine or else the sausage won’t taste good,” said Marios.
Leonidas added: “It doesn’t matter about the grape, but it has to be a dry red otherwise the sausage will taste sweet, which we don’t want. The white wine has to be dry as well.”
To make the sausages the meat, wine, salt and other ingredients are mixed in a large bowl and left for about five days.
“Then we take out the meat and put it into the sausage skin, which is a natural coating, made from inside of the pig. This used to be done by hand, I remember my mother doing this twenty or so years ago, now it’s done by a machine.”
The sausages are left for two or three days to dry and then they can be eaten.
“They don’t have to be cooked. They have already undergone a type of cooking process from the wine and spices. But if you wish, they can be cooked by grilling or frying, these are the best ways.”
Andreas Demetriades, the head of the Paphos Chamber of Commerce, EVE, said that the designation of a product as PGI is very important for the local economy, as it means that only Paphians, or their agents, can produce, distribute and sell the product all over Europe.
“These sausages are a very tasty and are often eaten in combination with halloumi, tomato and cucumber. Both Cypriots and visitors like the taste of Paphos sausages very much and the majority of Paphos hotels have them on their menu,” Demetriades said.
Leonidas’ father was also a butcher and now his son, daughter and nieces work in the Paphos shop.
“The business has changed a lot. We are not just a butchery now but also a delicatessen and winery. It’s a real family business.”
Making a product your own
Applications can be made for each of the three designations: Protected designation of origin (PDO), Protected geographical indication (PGI), and Traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG).
This system is similar to appellation systems used throughout the world. Applications can be put forward by groups of producers or individuals.
The designations which came into force in 1992 ensure that only products genuinely originating in a certain region are allowed to be identified as such.
The purpose is to protect the reputation of regional foods, promote rural and agricultural activity, and help producers obtain a premium price for their authentic products. It also aims to eliminate unfair competition and misleading of consumers by non-genuine products.
If the Commission is satisfied that an application meets the criteria for registration then details are published in the Official Journal of the European Communities to enable interested parties from outside to comment on or object to that application.
The much publicised PDO application for Halloumi/Hellim was made on July 17, 2014
PDO application for Kolokasi Sotiras/Kolokasi-Poulles Sotiras, February 3, 2015
PGI application for traditional Cypriot sweet -Glyko Triantafyllo Agrou – February 3, 2015
Loukoumi Geroskipou – a type of soft, chewy, cubed sweet, covered in powdered sugar – received a PGI in 2007
Koufeta Amygdalou Geroskipou – sugar roasted almonds which have been made in Geroskipou since 1895 according to a family recipe – received a PGI in 2012