Christmas in Kalopanayiotis
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
It’s not Christmas just yet, but Christmas is definitely in the air in our village, Kalopanayiotis. Our festive kiosk is all set up and the smell of mulled wine, hot chocolate with rum, corn on the cob and roasted chestnuts is drifting down every cobbled path. Our resident chef, Nikos, is busy preparing all sorts of dishes for the big day including roast duck, a seafood medley, rabbit liver pate and of course the traditional roast turkey and stuffing.
Roast turkey didn’t used to be the traditional Christmas dish here though. In the old days it was pork. And this week would be the week the families and their pigs parted ways. It was perhaps a sad time, according to our older residents, but then in its place arrived the most delicious sausages, bacon, tsamarella (salted dried meat) and that was welcomed. Not least because meat was expensive to buy, but also because most people had been fasting for 40 days before Christmas! Nikos, the chef, has shared one of his pork dishes below, which you may like to try in addition to your roast turkey on Christmas Day or on Boxing day.
This week is also baking week here. Some families still use the old outdoor ovens to prepare the sesame covered Koulourakia and the Christopsomo (a slightly sweet, light, buttery bread, infused with cinnamon, orange, wine soaked figs and aniseed). So, if you are visiting us over the holiday period, be warned. The air is literally mouth watering and smells amazing, you may not stop eating.
We’ve been busy doing our best to light up the houses and streets on these dark winter nights too. The mornings are getting frosty now and we are all holding out for a white Christmas. It’s important not to forget the custom of a sip of wine and chicken soup to warm up after early mass at church on 25th. And nothing is cosier than sitting around a log fire at Casale, sharing stories, remembering loved ones and making plans for the year ahead. We like to throw olive leaves into the flames to see if they pop and crack. It's an old Cypriot tradition. If they do, legend says the one we love, loves us back. If nothing happens, then we may have to reconsider our choices…
Whatever traditions you and your friends and family have, we hope you enjoy the festive season, being together, and like us at Casale sharing good food, drink and lots of laughter. If you are in the area, please do pop by and join us – we have some delicious menus over the next weeks and as always, we strive to use our local produce in the meals we cook.
We are so very grateful to have you as our friends and we wish you a happy and healthy 2017.