A local traditional pasta has been adopted by the EU Commission as a new protected geographical indication (PGI) from Cyprus.
‘Makaronia tis Smilas’ (literally ‘skewered pasta’) or ‘Macaroni tou Sklinitziou’ due to the hole that remains in the middle, after rolling the pasta dough around a thin skewer, is a type of handmade dried pasta, made by mixing water with a little salt and durum wheat flour or other types of flour with semolina, salt and water.
“The characteristics of the product are the result of the local know-how and the experience of their producers. In particular, the special tool used for the preparation of pasta is of great importance. The thin reed-shaped stem is carefully selected,” a press release by the EU Commission said.
According to the statement, another skill required for the production of this pasta is to place the pasta in drying baskets traditionally called ‘paneria’, in such a way that the pasta does not come into contact with each other.
This tasty makaroni is often consumed during festive or special events. This particular type of pasta was one of the dishes specially prepared at traditional Cypriot weddings that were a week-long affair in the past and would usually be eaten either on the Sunday of the wedding day itself or on the Tuesday after the wedding.
According to information available from local culinary history books, this specific type of pasta was typically produced at night during the summer months, by the women of the family together with their friends over a good chat.
The distinct thin, cigar-shaped pasta featuring a distinct hole through the middle, would usually be boiled in chicken broth and served with a generous helping of traditional Cypriot cheeses – halloumi or the ricotta-type anari.
In some villages on the island locals were a bit more adventurous, preparing the pasta in a tomato sauce with pigeons in the village of Peristerona, while in the village of Lysi, they would boil the tubular-shaped makaroni in honey or carob syrup.
The new name will be added to the list of 1,587 currently listed agricultural and food products.
The list of all protected geographical indications is available in the eAmbrosia database (https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/food-safety-and-quality/certification/quality-labels/geographical-indications-register/).