As colourful autumn leaves blanket the Cyprus countryside, there’s all the more reason to head out into quiet pastures over the coming months, as the cool and fresh autumn air revives the senses amid a stunning crimson-hued landscape. And if you add a feisty Zivania festival into the mix, you’re bound to have an action-packed day out!
This weekend, November 10 – 11, the village of Pelendri – high in the Limassol district – will be hosting its annual Zivania festival, giving visitors from near and far the chance to sip on the popular Cypriot drink while catching a glimpse of how it’s made. You can also enjoy traditional Cypriot music and dancing, while there will also be warm ‘palouze’ (made of grape juice) to try, and lots of traditional products to purchase and enjoy when you get back home.
All about Zivania
Not for the faint-hearted, this local ‘firewater’ is a potent distillation of the leftover grape skins and residue (pomace) from winemaking. Mighty strong stuff that locals are really proud of, a few swigs of this tipple will leave you feeling on top of the world. For the brave and the brave at heart, this white spirit contains a whopping 45% alcohol and is usually enjoyed as an ice-cold shot.
In the past, a glass or two was enjoyed as an aperitif by the man of the house after a hard day’s work in the fields. And his wife would have been more likely to use it as an alcohol rub or to clean the windows! Today, most Zivania-making is regulated by the government so it’s not as strong as it used to be, but it still has quite a kick. More than that, plenty of village folk still make it at home and the mountain variety can be seriously strong so it’s up to you whether you want to get a bottle from a supermarket or head out to the villages for that extra kick. Want a little bite to eat with your tipple? Zivania is usually enjoyed with a meze of almonds or walnuts, soujouko (a local sweet) and slices of cured meat.