Grains, vines and olive trees have been cultivated on our island for the centuries, as well as a variety of fruits, nuts, vegetables and all kinds of herbs. Bread, wine, and olive oil are still a big part of our diet and in many cases also play a ceremonial role in our local traditions. The abundant sunlight and mild climatic conditions give our fresh produce rich flavors and intense aromas. Savor the sweet, fragrant air, feel your body relax and start searching for these tasty experiences.
Searching out the variety of Cypriot produce takes you through the rural areas of the Heartland of Legends route, where you can meet local farmers and gain an insider’s point of view of our island’s agricultural traditions. There is nothing tastier than a ripe, juicy fruit that you have picked yourself. Sink your teeth into the crisp flesh of the apples of Kyperounta village, taste the sweet cherries of Pedoulas village, and enjoy a refreshing slice of a watermelon from Kokkinochoria, the region of “red earth villages”.
Cherry trees grow high up in the Troodos mountain villages, where the cooler climate suits these fruit trees best, since they dislike extremely hot temperatures. Cherries are a powerful, natural anti-inflammatory food; eating them helps digestion, slows down the ageing process, improves the immune and cardiovascular systems and relieves muscle pain. Join the locals for their cherry-picking festivals and enjoy delicacies made with fresh, tasty cherries.
Hazelnut trees grow in the Pitsilia region, on the north side of the Troodos Mountains from Madari to Papoutsa peaks and cover an area of 300 hectares. Most of the trees grow near the villages of Alona, Askas, Fterikoudi, Platanistasa, Polystypos and Agros. Harvesting takes place in August, when the shells containing the nuts can easily be separated from their leafy exteriors. The nuts are shelled and left to dry for about a week. The Platanistasa Hazelnut Festival takes place in the village square, where various kiosks are set up so that you can taste and buy hazelnut products. Guided walks to the hazelnut orchard and visits to the village’s churches and the Folk Art Museum are organized during the festival as well.
Watermelon is without a doubt the king of summer fruits. Cyprus’ summer kicks off with a juicy watermelon slice. Watermelons are harvested between May and August. Kokkinochoria villages are the main watermelon growers. During watermelon season farmers sell freshly picked watermelons. Cypriots like to pair watermelon with halloumi cheese.
Villages renowned for the cultivation of a particular product organize an event or a festival to celebrate their star produce together with locals and foreigners alike, to dance, sing, enjoy good food and have fun. Visit our local festivals and meet passionate local farmers and producers and discover our islands’ rich flavors, an island full of hospitable people, enduring traditions and fresh produce.