Looking to Take Home a Taste of Cyprus?

Looking to Take Home a Taste of Cyprus?

You will find plenty of souvenirs offering a taste of Cyprus, whether it’s a treat for yourself, or a gift for someone at home. If you have a sweet tooth, or a penchant for an alcoholic tipple, here are our top tips about what to pack for the homeward journey…

Brandy SourFor Brandy Sour: Cyprus Brandy and Lemon Cordial

Produced by double-distilling the local Xynisteri white wine in oak barrels, Cypriot brandy is the alcoholic element of the traditional Cyprus cocktail known as Brandy Sour. For an authentic recipe, you also need to take home local lemon cordial as it’s just not the same made with other brands.

Devised in the 1930s heyday of the Forest Park Hotel in Platres, Troodos, this tall golden cocktail allowed the Muslim King of Egypt to indulge in a tipple whilst entertaining local dignitaries. By creating a drink resembling iced tea, Stelios, head barman, enabled King Farouk to enjoy his reception without anyone uncovering his secret!

As time passed, the recipe spread to drinking establishments and restaurants throughout the island, becoming a firm favourite with both locals and visitors. Today it is regarded as THE Cyprus cocktail.

Filfar orange liqueurFilfar | Orange Liquer

The recipe for Filfar was developed by Takis Philippou as he worked for the British Army in Famagusta during the 1940s. His cookhouse role involved preserving local fruit in jams and marmalades. Having seen his grandmother make an orange liqueur using an ancient recipe from the monks at Kantara, he started experimenting with quantities and ingredients, using his army friends as tasters. Demand quickly grew, and before long he was making the drink commercially.

After losing everything in the Turkish invasion in 1974, Takis gave up his business. Fortunately Filfar production was revived in 1991 when Demos Aristidou, another Cypriot drinks maker, persuaded an Takis to sell his precious recipe. Still a closely guarded secret, up to 20 oranges of two varieties and three different herbs are used to make each bottle. Production is seasonal – beginning in early December with the orange harvest in Fasouri near Limassol – and continuing for four months – with much of the process still completed by hand.

Count yourself an honoured guest if a hospitable taverna owner serves a freebie at the end of dinner.

Zivania Cypriot firewaterZivania

This 45% proof firewater is also produced from Xynisteri dry white wine. The high alcohol content, and ready availability has led to a variety of medicinal uses, including treating wounds, massage, a cold and toothache remedy, or as a winter warmer.

Dating back to Venetian rule of the 14th century, this fiery concoction is still made in the traditional way. Grape pomace (remains such as pulp, peel, stalks and seeds) is mixed with high-quality dry wines, which are then distilled and matured. Usually drunk as an aperitif, Zivania is best served ice-cold straight from the freezer.

για μας ! | gia mas ! | cheers !

Spoon sweetsGlyka | Spoon Sweets

Fruit such as apricots, oranges, lemons and cherries, but also vegetables or nuts in syrup traditionally served on a spoon at the end of a typical Cypriot blow-out meal. Perfect for when you haven’t got room for a full dessert, but you just fancy a little sweet with your post-dinner drink. Our fav is walnuts which are picked green and soft and preserved whole.

Visitors are welcome at the Katerina Cyprus Sweets factory in Doros village – a 15-minute drive inland towards Troodos from Limassol.

Loukoumia Cyprus DelightLoukoumia | Cyprus Delight

Soft, jelly-like sweets made with sugar, cornstarch and flavouring, plus sometimes nuts, finished with a dusting of icing sugar. The main traditional flavours are rose, lemon, mastic and bergamot, with chocolate as a more modern addition.

The island’s main factory is Aphrodite Delights at Geroskipou in Paphos where visitors can taste samples before buying, and watch the production process. For more information, check out these Trip Advisor reviews.

SoutzoukosSoutzoukos | Grape Roll

A chewy sweet made from boiled grape juice in the wine villages of Troodos and Paphos. Almonds are threaded onto long strings, dipped into the hot juice and flour paste mixture, then hung to dry. The dipping process is repeated several times until the desired thickness is reached, then the soutzouko is dried over the period of a week and stored. Cut into slices, it is a treat served at traditional festivals and celebrations such as Christmas and New Year.

Pastelaki nut brittlePastelaki | Nut Brittle

Making use of locally grown nuts such as almonds and peanuts, along with a topping of sesame seeds, this is an early Cypriot version of a cereal bar. The traditional recipe uses another native ingredient – carob honey – to bind the nuts together.

καλή όρεξη ! | kalí órexi ! | bon appetit !

 

Refreshing Changes in Pissouri

Refreshing Changes in Pissouri

With new faces at Pissouri Council, there have been a multitude of impressive changes in 2017…

Cyprus Night posterYes, Cyprus Night is Back!

Chief among these is the long-awaited return of the fantastic community Cyprus Night to the village square on 28 July after an absence of 6 years.

While Kritos and Haris have done an excellent job of keeping indoor versions of the event going in their restaurants, when it takes over the whole square, having so many more visitors and locals involved gives a very different vibe. We are optimistic that the new dynamic village council will find a way to overcome administrative difficulties over the licence next season to enable it to return for longer. It used to run from May to October – which would be just perfect.

What is it?

Attracting residents and visitors from far and wide, it’s a lively and friendly community celebration including energetic traditional dancing in national costume, accompanied by the bouzouki. An English commentary explains the dances, with the evening’s highlight being a spectacular glass-balancing display.

To be at the heart of the action, book a table at Platea or O’Vrakas in Pissouri Square for their Friday meze. If you are more of a people-watcher, then dine at one of the other myriad of eateries around the village and follow the music to the square afterwards.

The Bunch of GrapesPissouri in Bloom Competition

Another great new idea for encouraging local businesses to make their contribution to the village scene. And congratulations to the deserving winner… The Bunch of Grapes.

We’ve always loved their shady courtyard garden (and of course their delicious fare)!

Seafront Enhancements

If you’ve only ever seen Pissouri Bay in summer, you may be surprised to learn that during winter storms the sea comes right up the beach. And the power of the waves is immense… they are strong enough to carry away the beach umbrella poles (which, by the way, are substantial structures made from scaffold poles embedded in concrete). So most years the beach changing rooms, concrete path and boat ramp take a battering and need some sort of repair.

In addition to these annual works, this year Pissouri Council have opted to plant new palm trees along the seafront near Agamemnon Beach Café. A good idea for not only improving the view, but adding some natural shade.

Marina aka Fishing Shelter?

Once again there’s speculation about a marina in the bay… this time at the Monte Beach end, rather than Black Rock as proposed previously. Whether this is pure fantasy, or realistic prospect remains to be seen. There’s certainly more ready-made infrastructure at the Columbia Resort end of the beach, and we’re relieved not to be having an access road through Vineland.

Petros - Greek theatre at amphitheatrePetros - boxing nightPissouri Amphitheatre

This magnificent millennium project has been opened up to a wider range of entertainments in addition to the popular and excellent tribute band evenings and displays of traditional dance.

This year it was the venue for a Boxing Night and a Greek Drama production.

Behind The Scenes

Less exciting, but nonetheless welcome are works such as new safety rails and drains on Apostolou Andrea and resurfacing on twisty Kiladon Street between the bay and village.

And we look forward to the water supply improvements which we hear are ‘in the pipeline‘!

A big thanks to all at Pissouri Council.

Village enhancement photos by Petros Foutas.

October: Get Arty at Cyprus Open Studios

October: Get Arty at Cyprus Open Studios

Cyprus Open Studios 2017Each year Cyprus Open Studios gets bigger and better… Artists, sculptors, potters, painters, glass workers and jewellers dotted around the island open up their studios on selected October weekends. This gives visitors the perfect opportunity to combine exploring the area with meeting the artists, viewing demonstrations, buying ready-made pieces, or commissioning bespoke artwork. At some locations you can even get in touch with your artistic side by taking part in creative workshops.

Opening times: 11:00-17:00 on October weekends

Catalogue: click to download in pdf format

Below we have selected a sample of artists working in a variety of media. To see the full range, check out the map in combination with the catalogue.

Yorgos Papadopoulos glass artist KedaresDiarizos Valley

Follow Wine Route 3 through beautiful vineyard-clad hillsides and traditional friendly Cypriot villages. The route passes two small traditional wineries: Lagria and Nelion.

Visit the studio of Yorgos Papadopoulos, a glass artist in Kedares producing works ranging from large sculptural pieces to silver and glass pendant jewellery.

Open 7/8 October and 21/22 October.

Trisha Payne artist PolisPolis Chrysochous

While visiting this north-west corner of the island, you could also visit the Baths of Aphrodite, where the goddess reputedly met with her lover, Adonis.

In Polis you will find:

Trisha Payne enjoys painting landscapes, seascapes and villages in oils on canvases – large and miniature. She also paints designs roof tiles and makes and paints her own clay plaques.

Linda Gardener mosaic artist PolisLinda Gardener makes mosaics from glass, stones, ceramic and found objects. She is inspired by the animals and nature of Cyprus. She paints and draws and uses mosaic-making as an extension of this. She will demonstrate different methods of making mosaics using a variety of materials.

Both open every weekend in October.

Karen Betts sculptor ChlorakasIn and Around Paphos

There’s plenty to see and do around this main town, particularly this year as the town has the honour of being named European Capital of Culture, celebrated as ‘Pafos2017’.

We recommend heading for the harbour as a first port of call, and maybe a visit to the adjacent World Heritage Archaeological Site with fantastic well-preserved Greco Roman antiquities.

The Paphos district has a variety of artists, including:

Karen Betts who sculpts in limestone and also cement/fibreglass/resin mixes, often studies of the female form. She also paints in an abstract style using fusions of water- and oil-based materials.

Julie Hart ceramic artist PaphosJulie Hart has been a figurative/portrait painter in oils for a number of years, and since moving to Cyprus in 2014, has developed an interest in Greek Mythology which she uses as inspiration for her oil and beeswax paintings, as well as her ceramic sculptures.

Both open 7/8 October, 21/22 October and 28/29 October.

Gabi Boehm textile artist AnogyraAnogyra

Near Pissouri, this interesting village was once a main carob-grower and is famous for ‘Pastelli’, a traditional sweet made from carob syrup. The village is also home to Oleastro, a museum dedicated to explaining the production of Olive Oil.

Gabi Boehm is a textile artist specialising in felting and dyeing. She prefers to work with natural fibres and dyes and loves creating interesting surfaces and textures.

Open 7/8 October and 14/15 October.

Hoping to See Turtles?

Hoping to See Turtles?

George’s Turtle-Watching Cruise on Atlantis

Leaving in late afternoon from the second jetty at Paphos harbour, this delightful excursion is one of our all-time favs. Since learning about the trip from guests (thanks Natalie!) and having enjoyed it ourselves, we think it the most magical experience…

Atlantis turtle watching cruise

Atlantis has an underwater viewing platform with stools and portholes. Running these daily trips, George has a fantastic insider’s knowledge of the flora and fauna of the coral reefs off Paphos. He takes you out a short distance off-shore to an area of sea grass favoured by turtles. The surprise for me was the size of the larger ones… fully grown they approach a metre in length, although the younger ones are considerably smaller.

There are no guarantees, of course, but if you follow George’s Atlantis Facebook page, you will discover that you would be extremely unlucky not to see any. And there are plenty of other sights to savour – enormous stingrays, an amazing variety of colourful fish, beautiful coral reefs and encrusted shipwrecks.

On the way home, George drops anchor to allow you to enjoy a refreshing sunset swim off the boat. (Book on +357 9666 1737 or via Facebook message).

Lara Bay Turtles

Off the beaten track in the protected Akamas Nature Reserve, Lara Bay has the island’s main turtle beach; home to both loggerhead and green turtle nests. If you visit this unspoilt long stretch of golden sandy beach in summer, you will see hundreds of cages protecting nests from predators. Sun loungers and parasols are not allowed on the beach, lest they damage hidden nests.

There is a Turtle Rescue Centre, but be aware this is primarily for conservation, rather than visitors. The two huts on the beach contain interesting information boards about the turtles, and rescue tanks… Sometimes there are baby hatchlings being nurtured to strength in the tanks, but equally there are also times when they are empty. While this is a positive thing – meaning there are currently no baby turtles in need of support, it can be disappointing for visitors, especially children.

Protective cages over nests on Lara turtle beach

The easiest way to get there is to book a jeep safari or hire a 4×4 or quad bike to reach the beach, as it’s approached via a rutted and rocky unmade road. If you’re visiting in a normal hire car, you can park in the car park 200 metres beyond the end of the tarmac road, and continue on foot. The Turtle Rescue Centre is a mile further north, so make sure you’re prepared with good footwear, hat, water and sunscreen. To find it, continue beyond Lara Café, and when you see a sign pointing right to Ineia, take the track opposite onto the beach.

Pissouri Beach

Every summer mature female turtles that hatched here many years previously return to Pissouri beach to nest. Members of Pissouri Turtlewatch patrol the beach in the early mornings looking for tell-tale tracks, so that they can place protective cages over the nests to keep them safe. Once a nest has been established, the countdown to the exciting hatching begins.

Baby turtle hatchlings day and night

 

The next task for the dedicated volunteers is an overnight vigil (as nests can hatch out any time from dusk till dawn). If mother nature has arranged everything right, this will be on the night of a full moon to help them navigate towards the moonlit water. Failing that Pissouri Turtlewatch use special red-filtered torches which provide a safe soft light to guide the hatchlings seawards. At this stage every effort is made to avoid picking up or even touching the tiny babies, as this can interfere with the development of their strength and navigational imprinting.

Red torch guiding hatchlings to the sea

Pissouri Turtlewatch vigil

How You Can Help

Turtles are endangered and protected by law, with the odds of surviving to adulthood staggeringly low.

Occasionally things go wrong, leaving the mother turtle or the hatchlings stranded on the beach in daylight when they are obviously at their most vulnerable. In that event, call Pissouri Turtlewatch (Jimmy +357 9946 2308) or Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre (+357 2582 6562) for support. In the meantime, the expert advice is to keep well back, stay quiet, and try to leave them alone, only interfering as a last resort. Removing large pebbles and creating an obstacle-free path directly to the sea can be helpful for the tiny hatchlings. During daylight there is no problem with taking photos and videos, as long as you ensure the flash is turned off.

Tiny Loggerhead Turtle Hatchlings On Pissouri Beach

Many thanks to Chris Price and Claudine Snell of Pissouri Turtlewatch for permission to use their lovely photos.

A previous version of this article was originally posted on our old website blog by Nikki 13/7/2017

Over The Top to Melanda

Over The Top to Melanda

A Scenic Coastal Walk for Nature Lovers

If you are feeling energetic, this is a beautiful local walk to Melanda beach at Avdimou – the next bay to the east of Pissouri. Or drive as far as the road takes you, then choose a cross-country walking route from there.

The First Part of The Route

Our development – ‘Vineland Pissouri Bay’ is nestled at the base of a rocky cliff. If you head inland a little, then turn right at Ampelohori, you’ll find a road snaking up the hill to the top of the plateau (see map). On foot the climb is quite strenuous, as the ridge elevation tops 100 metres, so this is not something to be tackled in summer’s midday heat. No problem in a car, of course!

The pay off is some lovely views looking down into Pissouri Bay, and across to Cape Aspro on the opposite headland.

Over the top to Melanda route map

A Beach To Yourself

Once the tarmac road runs out, a variety of clearly defined vehicle tracks lead you eastwards cross-country. This is where you can leave your car and continue on foot. There are plenty of more direct routes, but we suggest following the cliff edge coastal path as shown on the satellite map, to take advantage of the fabulous seascape views.

Over the top to Melanda unmade track through fields

Hugging the coastline rewards you with a choice of deserted coves where you could enjoy the seclusion of your own tiny beach.

Over the top to Melanda clear waters

Stone and Crop Circles

A fascinating surprise was some circular artwork lovingly created on the cliff top.

We saw this pebble design and some traditional-looking crop circles in the tall spring grass.

Over the top to Melanda stone circle

All The Way to Melanda

If you keep going, (for an hour or so beyond the end of the paved road), eventually you’ll arrive at Melanda beach. Using a smart phone with Google maps set on satellite view can help you to navigate.

Near Melanda you cross into the British ‘Sovereign Base’ area – officially UK territory. Although development on this land is restricted, there are two permitted beach restaurants – Melanda Beach Restaurant specialising in fresh local fish dishes, and further along another favourite for traditional Cypriot fare – Kyrenia Beach Taverna.

Indulge in a leisurely lunch and a few drinks – you’ll thoroughly deserve it!

Over the top to Melanda Beach Restaurant

And if the prospect of walking back is too daunting, other options include a taxi or boat pickup… just remember to copy the numbers from the villa handbook into your phone before you set off.

Happy exploring!

This article was originally posted on our old website blog by Nikki 9/5/2017

 

New: Travel Light With easyJet Hands Free

New: Travel Light With easyJet Hands Free

How It Works

easyJet have introduced a new luggage option that they’re calling ‘Hands Free‘. This allows you to check in hand luggage for a flat £4 fee at the airport. There are advantages for both the airline and traveller with this…

Travellers can take toiletries and liquids in larger sizes than 100 ml without the faff of putting everything into zip lock bags. It also saves you lugging hand luggage through security and departures. And you can still take a small under-the-seat laptop or handbag on board. If you haven’t brought a bag, you will be provided with a small plastic bag at the bag drop for your valuables and essentials. You will be called to board after the ‘Speedy Boarders’ with your luggage tagged as ‘Priority’ to come off the carousel first.

For easyJet it eases the congestion in the cabin overhead lockers, and adds another small ‘extra’ charge to your booking.

Sounds like a win-win!

More details: http://bit.ly/2wsCPUM

#easyJet #easyJethandsfree #handsfree #travel #travellight #traveltip

 

Ryanair Announce a New Dublin-Paphos Route

Ryanair Announce a New Dublin-Paphos Route

The planned schedule will run twice weekly throughout next summer from April 2018. Book online from September.

Paphos September 2017 – late deals
Dimitra Apatsidou of Ryanair has said that in order to celebrate the new route, the company would be releasing seats on sale to other destinations from Paphos from just €26.99 for travel in September, which are available for booking until midnight on Thursday August 31.

Welcome to Cyprus!

Post: Nikki at pissouribay.com
More info: ryanair.com

#ryanair #ryanairpaphos #ryanairdublin #ryanaircyprus #cyprusflights

September Events at Pissouri Amphitheatre

September Events at Pissouri Amphitheatre

We LOVE the summer open-air tribute act shows at Pissouri’s magnificent modern amphitheatre – you are guaranteed a great atmosphere, lively event and memorable holiday treat. The Rod Stewart and Take That tributes are back by popular demand; the UB40 tribute show is touring Cyprus for the first time.

Rod Stewart tribute 8 SeptUB40 tribute 16 Sept

Friday 8 September | Bob Wyper as Rod Stewart | KendallEvents.com | €14
Saturday 16 September | UB40 and Ska tribute | MorrelliEvents.com | €20
Friday 22 September | Re-Take That | KendallEvents.com | €17

Remember to chill the ice packs, pop some drinks and snacks into the cool box, and take some outdoor cushions to add to your enjoyment of the evening.

Post: Nikki at pissouribay.com

#pissourievent #tributeactconcert #pissouriamphitheatre #amphitheatreshow #pissouri #kendallevents #morrellievents #retakethat #rodstewart #ub40

Some Insider Tips on Cyprus Food and Drink

Some Insider Tips on Cyprus Food and Drink

Choosing Restaurants: Old Favs vs New?

Maybe it’s because we’ll be travelling to Cyprus soon, but thoughts have turned to some of our favourite Cypriot dishes and tipples. Mouth-watering prospect! This led to thinking about the restaurants and tavernas we prefer, and why. It’s always a dilemma when you’re only on a short visit about whether to go for tried and trusted, or to brave somewhere new. Guest recommendations are not only useful for fellow guests, but they keep us up-to-speed too. Summaries of this feedback appear in the website guestbook, with printed versions in the villa.

Muse Cafe Kitchen, Paphos

Muse Café Kitchen, Paphos

It’s no secret that we are big fans of Muse in Paphos. So many things combine to make a good (or bad) experience, including expectation, that it’s tricky to recommend places. Having said that we’ve thoroughly enjoyed every meal we’ve had at Muse (and there have been quite a few!) But our enthusiasm for Muse is not just about the food… we love the decor, the terrace, the lighting, the amazing views, the prices, and the service – phew! As it is a little tricky to find, we supply a map route and directions for our guests.

Pissouri Bay dining

Dining in Pissouri Bay

Not that you need to venture to Paphos for a great dining experience. In Pissouri Bay we are incredibly lucky to have so much choice close by… something regularly mentioned by new visitors. At the last count there were 15 places to dine in the bay itself, not including the hotel’s restaurants. You can see a complete list of the resort amenities on our maps page. Plus there are more restaurants up the hill in Pissouri village too. How many other places this size have so many dining options?

Brandy Sour recipe

Cypriot Specialities

There’s plenty of interest in Cypriot cuisine. Our Cyprus Food and Drink G+ board is by far our most popular, having amassed a staggering 41,000 followers. And learning the stories behind Cypriot favourites such as Kleftiko and the Brandy Sour cocktail is fascinating.

Wine Tours

With 51 wineries, if you’re interested in doing a behind-the-scenes tour, along with a tasting, there are lots of options. This newly launched winery website has lots of useful information about what each winery offers.

The CTO has also published a series of seven wine-routes taking you on scenic country drives around Cyprus’ wine-producing regions.

Our Top Ten Suggestions

For our free insider tips of Cypriot food and drinks, along with our fav places to try them, please sign up for our newsletter.

This article was originally posted on our old website blog by Nikki 13/3/2017

Turtle Nesting Tales From Pissouri Beach

Turtle Nesting Tales From Pissouri Beach

There’s something magical about lying in bed listening to the sea

And don’t we all love the simple pleasures of spending time at the beach – watching the waves breaking, skimming stones, paddling at the water’s edge, studying pebbles and touching wave-smoothed glass. If you’re lucky enough to visit at different times of the year, you can witness the changes of the seasons. Summer visitors watching the benign waves lapping would never imagine the drama and terrifying power of the crashing winter storms where the water can come right up to the path. In recent winters enormous chunks of concrete have been taken by huge breakers undermining the Columbia footpath and disintegrating the slipway. Then suddenly last spring tonnes of sand arrived courtesy of that season’s more moderate waves, covering the pebbles and clothing the beach in another guise.

The quiet end of Pissouri beach

For me the most exciting thing about Pissouri beach, though, is the fact that it’s a turtle beach

Every year it plays host to endangered nesting Loggerhead sea turtles… with mature females returning via some amazing navigational sense to dig their nests on the same beach where they themselves hatched. Until this season I had no idea how much of a labour this is. One of a dedicated band of volunteers from Pissouri Turtlewatch, Cindy Murrin-Garcia has been documenting events via social media. Her dawn beach patrols have followed and filmed quite a few turtle tracks up from the shoreline, showing that females habitually make repeated forays throughout the night before selecting a nesting site.

After establishing a successful lay, Pissouri Turtlewatch protect the site from predators with a cage and cordon. At this point the clock starts ticking. 45-51 days later the hatchlings will emerge – normally at night and in groups over a period of a few days. Drawn to the sea by the reflections of the moon on the water, it is important not to confuse them with any other lights. Red torches are used by the trained volunteers on their overnight vigils, because turtles cannot see red light. Efforts are made to avoiding touching the tiny creatures during shepherding, as the purpose of this vulnerable trek across the beach is twofold; it has a part to play in the imprinting that enables females to return to this site at maturity, and it is nature’s way of building strength for survival in the water.

Turtle hatchlings emerging from eggsOn rare occasions turtle events happen during daylight hours. Yesterday Cindy found a female turtle on the beach during her early morning patrol, allowing her to take these wonderful photos. And later in the day Pissouri Turtlewatch excavated a hatched nest to help the last few stragglers on their way.

Ungainly on land, once in their element, the tiny hatchlings make rapid progress away from the shore. A study involving gluing tiny satellite transmitters to baby Loggerheads found that in their first few hours they ‘sprint and ride’ the waves at an impressive 60 metres a minute in their efforts to escape coastal predators. Surviving to adulthood is precarious: it is estimated that as few as one in a thousand make it. Those that do have a life expectancy of between 45 and 65 years.

Although turtles can regularly be seen swimming in the bay, our favourite way of turtle spotting is to take a two-hour sunset cruise from Paphos harbour with George on his vessel Atlantis. Equipped with a series of underwater portholes, this is a great way of getting up close to turtles, stingrays and the most amazing fish. More details: Our Top 10 List

 

Mother turtle photos by Cindy Murrin-Garcia of Pissouri Turtlewatch

This article was originally posted on our old website blog by Nikki 25/7/2016