delicious sweet are hung in the sun to dry. Soujouko is made from strings of almonds or walnuts that have been dipped in thickened grape juice and allowed to dry before the process is repeated The speciality that Lofou is best known for is palouze, and in late September the village holds its annual Palouze Festival. Palouze is thickened grape juice which is served warm with chopped almonds sprinkled on the top and tastes delicious! The first Festival was held 15 years ago and since then has become very popular, attracting visitors from all over Cyprus who enjoy dancing late into the night.
If you are not in a hurry when you visit Lofou it is well worth planning to enjoy a meal there as there are three good tavernas serving traditional foods and Lofou is the only village in Cyprus where all the tavernas have been awarded the Vakhis Project Certificate. This is an initiative by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) as part of the Strategic Tourism Plan, and has been created in co-operation with the Higher Hotel Institute. The Vakhis Certificate is awarded to tavernas for their authenticity and is named after the famous Cypriot chef, Vakhis, who lived in the ancient city of Kition (Larnaca) in AD300. The CTO has invited all tavernas and restaurants serving Cypriot cuisine to reach the high standards it has lain down and to meet the approval of the special committee which has representatives from the CTO, the Higher Hotel Institute, Eurotoques International and the Association of Cypriot Chefs. The tavernas that meet with their approval receive the prestigious Vakhis Certificate and their details are listed in the information booklet which is available from all CTO offices. The three tavernas in Lofou were amongst the first ten to be awarded this prestigious certificate for their authentic cookery, decoration, drink menu and evening entertainment. If that news has not tempted you to stay longer in Lofou, one of the villagers has recently begun to rent out traditional houses, now what better excuse is there?
The Palouze Festival in Lofou will take place on Saturday 20/Sunday 21 September and the focus for it is the village school where stalls sell local handicrafts, produce and of course bowls of warm Palouze!
Lofou Village - Limassol
Nestling in the southern foothills of the Troodos amongst the carob trees is the village of Lofou, which actually sits on several hilltops as described by its name meaning ridges. The first people settled in the area in the 7th century when Arab raiders forced people in the coastal communities to flee inland. Lofou has always been an agricultural community- especially grapes and the hillsides have been terraced to maximize vine cultivation – most of the grapes are sold to the four main wineries down in Limassol and most of the grapes are gathered by the farmer and his family who loaded them into panniers carried by donkeys..
During the 19th century because the hilly land around the village was not easy to cultivate, many villagers moved down to the flatter land in the Ypsonas area (west of Limassol) and split their time between the two places tending their grapes and almonds in Lofou and cultivating fields of cereals in Ypsonas. Today there are still close ties between the villages.
With mainly older villagers now living permanently in Lofou the village did begin to decline, but in the 1980s the Department of Antiquities initiated a restoration project with the Cyprus Tourism Ortganisation (CTO) which is still in progress. To discover the natural beauty of the village it is best to park the car and just wander at leisure down the cobbled streets, stopping to admire the stone-built houses with their steeply pitched roofs and walls half-hidden by cascades of jasmine, honeysuckle and bougainvillea. Several older houses made from the traditional mudbrick can still be seen too and the old outside cisterns that all the houses once had. These cisterns were used to collect rain water so that villagers did not have to carry water by donkey from the river which once flowed where the Kouris dam stands today.
If you take a wander around the village during the grape harvest or just afterwards, you may well see
the housewives hard at work preparing different food from the thickened grape juice. The best known of these is soujouko and knobbly strings of this