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Celebrating carobs

The carob, an iconic product of Cyprus, is often described as ‘black gold’, not just in our local tradition generally but also, more specifically, in the Pegeia region of Paphos – which is where a festival will be setting out to celebrate the carob and its large family of products this week.

On September 8, the 8th annual Carob Festival will take place in Pegeia, and admission is free to all. The setting is the St. George church of Pegeia, along with the enchanting environs of the square around it. Pegeia was traditionally the village of the carob, back in the day. It was a village full of carob trees, making its harvest the main occupation of the inhabitants of Pegeia.

In fact, explain the festival organisers, it was this black gold that saved the locals, as it was exported to England, France and throughout Europe. “It is known that the carob is one of the characteristic trees of our country,” they say. “This precious gift of Nature is not only a basic food source for us Cypriots but also a living legacy associated with every aspect of our lives, our daily lives and our habits. Both the carob itself and its derivatives are among the key elements of the Cypriot and Mediterranean diet, and are known for their high nutritional value and medicinal properties. It’s time to get to know both the carob and what can be made from it.”

The Carob Festival is organised every year with the aim of passing on this love of carobs to younger folk and awakening memories in the older generation, whilst also sharing this tradition and culture with travellers.

This year ‘s event will feature a rich traditional cultural programme with the participation of Vassiliki Hatzihadamou and Michalis Hatzimichael, various Cypriot dance routines from traditional bands, as well as poetry recitations about the teratzia, Cypriot for carobs.

As part of the festival, there will be kiosks with traditional carob products such as bread rusks, anari with carob syrup and much more, as well as various traditional carob dishes. Basketry and the preparation of the Cypriot pasteli, resi and trachana will also be demonstrated. And fear not, there will be various other Cypriot traditional dishes and drinks on sale.

 

8th Annual Carob Festival

Festival honouring the carob and its derivative products. Food, dance and drinks available. September 8. St. George Pegeia Church, Paphos. 7.30pm

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