By Heidi Trautmann
It is the pride of Lefke’s housewives to produce the best preserves and once in a while they can enter competitions to be recognized as an award winner. I met one such Lefke lady at the Lefke Walnut Festival on the first weekend of June. She had three awards displayed on her stand table saying that she was the best. On the first weekend in June it was all about the walnuts, a favourite sweet preserve in Cyprus. The area around Lefke is known not only for its tasty oranges but also for their walnuts and pecan nuts. In spring, when the walnuts are green and young, they have to be picked and watered for several days to lose the bitter taste; a time-intensive process, with sugar syrup added, lemon juice, lime, cloves and cinnamon, just to give you an idea. When a guest enters a Cypriot house, he/she will be offered this delicacy together with a glass of water, a gesture meaning that you are very welcome.
Right in the centre of Lefke village, along some roads, people had put up their stands to show and sell what their hands have produced. In the centre of it all was the space and stage where representatives of the Lefke Tourism Association were announcing the activities during the two days the village festival was running. From 10 o’clock on music groups of all genres were entertaining the guests who were coming and going, getting themselves some food from the stands and sitting down to chat with friends. As a last event on the programme a concert was announced we have especially come for, a concert with Feridun Işıman, an artist and friend. Sitting in a street corner café with other villagers and their kids we sipped some Turkish tea, nice and sweet, and waited for our friend’s performance while watching a concert of school kids; the girl singer made her voice sound like Tina Turner’s; young people from here look very well nourished, most probably they love the sweet walnuts themselves. And finally, Feridun Işıman and his band came onto stage and his wonderful voice filled the village of Lefke with old-time songs; he was singing for Lefke and his friends were thanking him. He has a warm and full tenor voice I know it from some CD’s, writing the songs himself. A multi-talent, singing and painting, and both he does with absolute passion.
They say, that Lefke is the place of superlatives, you have another proof here!
On our way home under a full moon along the coast of Morphou Bay his voice came with us to keep us company.