“The Beautiful Lefkara”, a Cyprus delight factory operating in Lefkara dating back 100 years, is known as a frequent destination for visitors to the region.
Voice International visited Lefkara and secured an interview with the owners of the world-renowned Cyprus delight industry “The beautiful Lefkara”, Theodoros and Mary Kramvidis.
“The history of making loukoumi dates back more than 100 years”, the owners said.
They mentioned that the continuation of the tradition of making delicious loukoumi is also important for tourism in Lefkara.
Lefkara has been a place of coexistence of the two communities and the search for Cypriot identity can help in the search for peace.
They specifically mention that “they used to sit together in the evenings and embroider, they came to the shop, because the store also made sumada(orgeat).” There are also many (Turkish Cypriots) who come to Lefkara, villagers, and want “Theori’s coffee”, they want sumada or their children come and say that their parents who came from Lefkara sent them saying “our parents sent us to get loukoumi from here”, because they want loukoumi from Lefkara.
Question: Let’s start with the loukoumi itself. Tell us a little about the history of your industry…
Mary Kramvidou: Grandfather Theodoros Kramvidis started making them in 1895, who learned from his uncle. He continued on his own and has received many awards in Cyprus and abroad. They have been awarded in many exhibitions, namely in 1907, 1909, 1919, 1936 in Cyprus, in England in 1924 and 1925 and at the International Exhibition in Thessaloniki in 1931. Then my father-in-law learned (the work), my husband and then our children. It is made by water and maize starch. We make 15 flavors and it is all fresh here. People like that.
Question: What do you think about the importance of passing on the tradition of making loukoumi to the next generations?
Kramvidou: Because it is something traditional. It dates back over 100 years. People like it. And of course there are tourists, who want to buy something from the place they visit and to take back to their country.
Question: Lefkara was a mixed village of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. What are your family memories from those days?
Mary Kramvidou: I personally did not experience the coexistence of the two communities, because my house was far away. It was not my neighborhood, so to speak. My mother-in-law used to say that they sat together in the evenings and embroidered. They came to the shop to buy sumada. There are also many (Turkish Cypriots) who come to Lefkara, villagers, and want “Theori’s coffee”, they want sumada or their children come and say that their parents who came from Lefkara sent them saying «our parents sent us to get loukoumi from here», because they want loukoumi from Lefkara.
Question: Do you think that highlighting the common tradition could help in the search for peace in our country?
Mary Kramvidou: Certainly, because (Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots) were together, they grew up together. Our village had no problems. During the holidays they would always hang out, they were always together. So, the search for our Cypriot identity will definitely help, I think.
Kallis Antounas-Voice International 2023