Farmers’ association Panagrotikos welcomed on Monday the announcement of the European Commission that it approved the addition of rose preserve, a traditional spoon sweet made in Agros, on its list of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
“The link between Agros and products made from roses derives from the fact that the damask rose has been grown in the area for over a hundred years,” the EC announcement said.
The PGI list covers agricultural products and foodstuff closely linked to geographical areas. For a product to be eligible, at least one of the stages of production, processing, or preparation must take place in the area in question.
Agros is famous for its rose products, among them the traditional rose preserve. According to the EC announcement, “Glyko Triantafyllo Agrou”, is a dessert consisting of a mixture of rose petals, sugar and water, prepared in the region of Agros.
“The roses should be of the variety Rosa damascene and can be harvested only during early morning hours, when the flowers are not fully open yet and the petals are still moist,” it said. “The petals are then boiled in a cauldron together with water, sugar and lemon juice, after which the mixture is cooled, packaged in a jar and heated in the oven”.
Systematic rose cultivation in Agros, specifically the species Rosa Damascena, dates back to the 1910’s when a school teacher, Nearchos Clerides, had founded a pupils’ association for the dissemination of the rose bush with the aim of producing rose water.
“Owing to the specific climatic and soil conditions, the Community of Agros has come to be identified with damask rose growing and processing and over the years a number of cultural traditions have developed in connection with this,” the EC said.
It added that the first references to damask rose growing in Cyprus date back to the end of the 19th century and that the only areas ever recorded as producing a sizeable crop were the communities of Milikouri and Agros. “In both areas rose growing gained momentum after 1940 but Agros produced more roses than Milikouri and it still does today, which leads to the firm conclusion that specific climatic conditions combined with human factors are the reason why damask roses continue to thrive there”.
Panagrotikos said that three more Cypriot agricultural products are in the EC’s list of PGI, the Paphos sausage, and the Yeroskipou ‘Loukoumi’ (delight), and ‘Koufeta Amygdalou’ (almond dragees).
The association’s general secretary, Tasos Yiapanis, extended his congratulations to all stakeholders that contributed in “placing Cyprus on the map of the PGI products”.