The European Commission said on Wednesday it had approved a Cypriot traditional food product, Tertziellouthkia, a type of local pasta, for inclusion on the registry of Protected Geographical Indications (PGI).

A PGI emphasises the relationship between the specific geographic region and the name of the product, where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. At least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation takes place in the region.

The difference with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) protection like halloumi/hellim is that PDOs have the strongest links to the place in which they are made where every part of the production, processing and preparation process must take place in the country, or region. Cyprus’ other PDO is Kolokasli from Sotiras.

In terms of other PGIs, Cyprus has Loukoumi from Geroskipou, Pafitiko Loukaniko, Rose Sweets from Agros and several local meat products from Pitsilias. Waiting in the wings for PGIs are Agros Rose Water and Kokkinochoria ‘red soil’ potatoes.

Tertziellouthkia, which is an islandwide tradition and handmade food. It is a type of pasta made by mixing durum wheat flour with water and another type of flour such as country or wholemeal flour, with semolina, water and salt.

The product’s name comes from its shape, which resembles a little ring or ‘tertziélli’. Its specific characteristics, such as its size and texture, are a result of the producers’ know-how and expertise, and built its reputation over the years, according to the government’s application for the PGI.

Whether dried or fresh, Tertziellouthkia are packed in transparent packaging. The packaging allows the consumer to see the features that show that the product is hand-made, in particular its shape and texture.

The grounds for applying to register the name were the product’s specific characteristics, such as its shape, size and texture, which are a result of the producers’ know-how and expertise, and the reputation it has acquired over the years.

Traditionally, Tertziellouthkia’ were served for fasts and feasts, as well as social events such as weddings. They are served in a particular way being boiled in water and carob syrup, grape syrup or honey. They may have evolved from the ancient Greek dish called ‘plytos artos’, or ‘boiled bread’.

According to the governnment’s application, the particular pasta is gradually becoming more popular in the modern diet both locally and abroad as a result of being presented on television cookery programmes in Greece and also due to cooking websites and videos.