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Gifts & souvenirs to take home from Cyprus

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Travelling in Cyprus can be exciting and fun. Especially when it comes to choosing gifts or souvenirs for your home or loved ones. You can find many traditional memorials when roaming around Cyprus that will make you experience here in Cyprus unforgettable.

Here’s the best gifts and souvenirs we recommend you take with you before leaving the island.

Commandaria

Forbes has named Commandaria “a legendary wine”. It is famous around the world and it would be a shame not taking some with you when leaving Cyprus. Commandaria can be enjoyed as an after dinner drink or with a chocolate dessert. Or whenever you feel like it.

So, you can find Commandaria when travelling to Krasochoria in the Limassol District, not only at the local shops but also at the wineries which are located there.
We recommend:
Keo Saint John Commandaria
Saint John Commandaria
Departement of Agriculture Commandaria 2008
Agia Mavri Commandaria 2010
Etko Saint Nicholas 2010
Centurion Commandaria 2000
Commandaria Tsiakkas 2008
Etko Centurion 2000

Lefkaritika or Lefkara Laces

Before leaving Cyprus, consider visiting the village of Lefkara not just to admire this rural architecture of the village but also to buy yourself a unique souvenir you won’t find anywhere else in the whole world. The tradition of lace-making in the village of Lefkara in Larnaka dates back to at least the fourteenth century and until nowadays you can see women sitting in the streets and practising this art. You can buy a lefkaritiko from their shops which are scattered in all over the village.

Zivania

With an alcohol content of 40-99%, it is no surprise that the island’s national drink of Zivania is also referred to as ‘firewater’!
The strong drink dates back to the 14th century when the island was under Venetian rule and is still made in the same tradition today. Grape pomace (remains such as pulp, peel, stalks and seeds) is mixed with high-quality dry wines made from the indigenous grapes of Mavro (black) and Xynisteri (white), then distilled and mellowed for a long period. Before modern medicine, Zivania was an essential first-aid staple in every Cypriot home.
Nowadayws, just like Commandaria, you can buy Zivania from supermarkets and local shops or wineries when tripping around the traditional Krasochoria of Limassol.

Loukoumi

Cyprus is famous for its delicious sweets known as ‘delights’, which have been produced on the island for centuries.

Along with a number of other villages, Geroskipou – in the Pafos district and Foini – in the Limassolo district – still traditionally produce these soft, chewy sweets made, without the use of preservatives, simply with sugar, cornstarch and flavouring or nuts, then dusted with icing sugar to prevent them from sticking together.

You can find pretty boxes of delights in a number of different flavours. The most traditional is rose, followed by lemon, mastic and bergamot, although you can also find more modern flavours – including chocolate – with or without nuts.

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t leave the island without at least a couple of boxes for friends, or just all for yourself!

Glyka tou Koutaliou (Spoon Sweets – Preserves)

As their name indicates, the traditional glyka ‘spoon sweets’ are candied preserves that are typically served on a small spoon and offered to guests as a symbol of hospitality, always with a glass of cold water.

Almost any fruit, vegetable, nut or peel can be preserved, and the sweets are often flavoured with vanilla, cinnamon or pelargonium (scented geranium leaves).

When visiting the island, you may find you are offered one at the end of a meal and although the portion may appear small, you won’t be able to manage a second serving as they are very sweet – and half the time you will be unable to identify exactly which fruit or vegetable has been candied!

In today’s modern Cypriot society, it is more common to buy a jar, and you can find a number of different brands that make a lovely gift or a traditional souvenir to remind you of your visit to the island.

Rose Natural Cosmetics

Rose Natural Cosmetics
For 70 years, on the slopes of the Agros village, Tsolakis family has been cultivating its own rose bushes. Not any kind of rose, but those Cypriots call “fragrant” and sometimes “wild”.
The cosmetics contains rosewater and rose essential oils (Rose Damascena) used to protect skin from harmful effects of free radicals.
Organic cosmetics are products which do not contain synthetic fragrances so they don’t have intense fragrance. For flavored essential oils are mainly used.  You can also buy the products online.

Traditional Pots – Create you own souvenir

Few pottery workshops in Cyprus are giving their guests the chance to create their own pots which will take with them at home when leaving the place.
Savvas pottery located on the old Limassol – Paphos road just outside Geroskipou has always open doors to its visitors who can experience the making of pottery items. Old and new shapes, Cyprus museum copies as well as custom made ceramic art items are just a few creations you will find in our workshop.We would be very happy to welcome you and show you how we turn clay into elegant ceramic pieces
The Pottery Creations – Askott Pottery is a workshop located outside of Paralimni where everyone can create his/her own one-of-a-kind souvenir, or gift. Anyone, any age can create his/her own piece with our help on the wizard under a small cost, decorate it and take it with you at the same time or if you would like to continue, you can, with firing process and painting. Also we have a wide range of handmade pots for you to buy.All of our pottery are very high detailed hand painted. Each one is a unique model. We also have a small studio located in Protaras Square (opposite Odessa Hotel) for people interested in making their own pot! It’s easy! For further information feel free to contact us!

You can also find pottery workshops in the streets of Larnaka around Agios Lazaros church:

Art Workshop Studios:
Studio Ceramics – Efthymios Symeou, Address: 18 Akteniz Str, Tel.: 24 650 338
Emira Pottery – Michalis Michael, Address: 13 Mehmet Ali Str., Tel: 99 404 414
Stavros Pottery – Stavros Stavrou, Address: 8 Ακ. Nteniz Str., Tel: 24 624 491
Photos Demetriou, – Photos Demetriou, Address: 9 Xanthou Lysioty Str., Tel: 99 466 095

You can also buy pots from tourist kiosks which can be found in tourist streets at all the tourist cities of Cyprus.

Handmade Byzantine Icons

This is souvenir that will last in time and will strongly remind you of the religious experience you had in Cyprus. There are many galleries in Cyprus which sell these beautiful and holy handmade byzantine icons, such as Chrysokondylia in Limassol and Myrianthi in Limassol and Paphos

Halloumi Cheese

The island’s most famous cheese – Halloumi – is a delicious and versatile product that has a distinctive texture and is fantastic both cold and cooked (grilled or fried). In fact, it is unlikely that you will not encounter this cheese on your visit to the island, whether it is in a sandwich, as part of a traditional ‘meze’ or at breakfast!

This white, semi-hard cheese has been produced on the island for centuries and is traditionally prepared with a precise quantity of goat or sheep’s milk (mainly by the villages that produce it) in order to qualify as authentic Halloumi. It can also be made with cow’s milk (more commonly by the larger dairies), or even a mix of all three milks. Mint is often added to this salty cheese, and it has a long shelf life.

You can find traditional Halloumi in every supermarket in Cyprus.

Courtesy of the CTO

Praxia Aresti