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In Cyprus it is tradition to offer these treats after the wedding, instead of bombonieres (favours), which are offered in Greece. After the church ceremony the couple and the parents of the bride and groom line up for congratulations and one of these wedding cakes are offered to the guests, neatly folded in cellophane paper.

 

In Cyprus weddings are huge and a thousand guests is quite a usual number, some may reach two, three or even more thousands of guests.  Everyone is invited at the church ceremony and depending on the families” financial status, there will be either a reception at a hotel, usually by the swimming pool, or if the couple can’t afford such a reception they will have a party at a restaurant for close relatives and friends.

I remember back in the seventies, it was common to have wedding receptions at home and all the catering was, of course, done at home.  During the week before the wedding, lots of preparations were made, and it goes without saying that all relatives and close friends, were there to help.

You may be wondering how could they do this at home with all those guests? This type of wedding parties was quite common and usually there would be lots of space in the yard or a plot of land next door which was not yet built but even when this was not also possible, the party would take place in the road and no one would complain, as they knew that they would do the same one day.  They would rent tables and chairs, even cutlery and hire musicians to play modern or folklore music and the party started in the evening and ended around midnight.

Traditional Loukoumia are similar to kourabiedes, which is a sort of cookie made with local ewes” milk butter but instead of flour they are made with fine semolina and a small amount of flour.  They are filled with almonds, (which is a local product), sugar and cinnamon and when they are baked, they are washed with citrus or rose blossom water and then covered with icing sugar. The sugar absorbs the moist from the scented water and creates a hard sugar crust outside but at the same time it is flavoured by the rose or citrus water and the butter.

As I have said many times, Cypriot cuisine was and still is influenced by its neighbouring Middle Eastern countries and at a certain point pistachios were imported from Syria.   In Cyprus pistachios were mainly imported from Aleppo (in Syria), known in antiquity as Khalpe or Beroea or Veroia to the Greeks and are known on the island as halepiana, which means coming from Aleppo.   Although pistachios are very expensive, compared to almonds they have prevailed and are mostly preferred.  Some confectioners even use pistachio butter or oil to make them but even yet they do not compare to homemade loukoumia.  

I remember my cousin’s wedding when I was a little girl, as I was there helping to crush the almonds and do all sorts of chores.  A lady, named Katerina, who happened to be the mother of a schoolmate of mine, was hired to be in charge of making loukoumia, as she was famous for her skills to make the best loukoumia in Limassol.  

Unlike pasticcia, which was difficult to find a recipe, eventually two of my readers e-mailed me with instructions how to make them and I thank them very much.  I will surely make them sometime after the holidays.  There is no recipe for loukoumia on the internet but as I said these were made at home, so fortunately my sisters knew how to make them.

I made some for Christmas, much smaller than the wedding cakes.  It may sound unusual to make these for Christmas as we have associated them with weddings but beside that fact, I believe they are perfect for Christmas and I must say that mine turned out great much better than any I have eaten the past years when going to Cyprus.   I made half of them with almonds, in the traditional way and half of them with pistachios.   I even wrapped them in cellophane and these can now last for a few weeks (not that they will last that long).

The recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in volume 2 of  my e-cookbook.

Finally, I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and announce the winner of the giveaway, who has been randomly selected from Random.Org.

If you are still curious to find out about the secrets mentioned in my post for melomacarona, I have updated the post.

Thank you all for participating.The winner is number 35 – Giota from the Greek blog.  Congratulations Giota and please communicate with me sending me your address so that I may mail the gift to you.  Happy Holidays!!

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Χωρίς σχόλια on Loukoumia tou Gamou (Cypriot Wedding Cakes)

  1. Ο/Η Rosa λέει:

    Congrats to Giota!

    Those cookies look delightful! A terrific treat!

    Happy Holidays!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Ο/Η Angie from Angie's Recipes λέει:

    Congratulations to Giota!
    Wedding cookies look so lovely!
    Merry X’mas!

  3. Ο/Η alison λέει:

    wonderful wedding cookies!
    ivy,merry christmas and happy holidays!

  4. Ο/Η Lisa Henderson λέει:

    Any cookie with butter must be delicious plus the pistachios and rose water make them irresistible. Congrats to the winner and again your photos are beautiful.

  5. Ο/Η Peter G λέει:

    The wedding cookies look lovely…thank you for explaining the tradition behind them. Merry Xmas and happy new year Ivy!

  6. Ο/Η heni λέει:

    Lovely elegant cookies … they look wonderful for the holidays not just weddings! My family and I wish you and yours a blessed and joyous Christmas Ivy!

  7. Ο/Η Cakelaw λέει:

    These look great Ivy – like Mexican wedding cakes. Love the family Greek recipes that you can’t get elsewhere. Merry Christmas!!!

  8. Ο/Η tasteofbeirut λέει:

    As I was reading your post I started thinking how familiar it all sounded.. until you mentioned middle-eastern countries and pistachios from Aleppo; in Lebanon too weddings are a huge affair (whether or not people can afford them); these delicacies sound delightful and with the semolina and pistachio or almond filling very close to home!

  9. Ο/Η fimère λέει:

    ces gâteaux c'est une pure merveille j'adore
    joyeux noël et à biebtôt

  10. Ο/Η Peter λέει:

    Thank you for sharing these loukoumia and this Cypriot wedding tradition. I would want these more than "koufeta". Merry Christmas kai "hgeia" in 2010.

  11. Ο/Η Niki λέει:

    Your cookies look delicious!!!!

    Thank you for the holiday woshes! I hope you and your family had a great Christmas and a fabulous New Year!

  12. Ο/Η Aparna λέει:

    These look so perfect. I think its wonderful how home-made favours are distributed after weddings. We do something like this too.

    Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a very Happy New Year!

  13. Ο/Η natalia λέει:

    Dearest Ivy, these sweets look heavenly !! Buon Natale to you and all your family !! Baci

  14. Ο/Η cupcakeweddingcakes λέει:

    I really love those cookies. In fact , the old-style wedding reception by have it organised at hime have now become popular agin, this because not only for cost effective, but also you can meet family guest in very warm welcome atmosphere.

  15. Ο/Η Antigoni λέει:

    I am SO happy to have stumbled upon your wonderful pages!! A greek-cypriot from Perth Australia, I am always in search of ideas for my family and my restaurant too.
    Though I have been here since I was 4, the Cypriot in me is still as strong as ever.
    Is it possible to have the recipe for Lokoumia tou Gamou?? I have my daughters wedding coming up and would love to make them!

  16. Ο/Η Alison λέει:

    Hello,
    Your loukoumia look great. I have been searching for a recipe for Cypriot loukoumia as I just got married in Cyprus (to a Cypriot) and wanted to make some for friends and family in the UK who couldn't travel. I would really appreciate it if you could send me your recipe. Thanks you.

    Alison
    (alisonrennie@yahoo.co.uk)

  17. Ο/Η Banquet Facilities λέει:

    Hey the cookies look totally yummy :)

  18. [...] to stick, although this method seems not be used any more.  We continue to do this in Cyprus for Loukoumia tou Gamou, our Wedding [...]

  19. Ο/Η athena λέει:

    Hi I love these loukoumia.. everytime I got o Cyprus they serve the and I have not been able to obtain a good recepi.

    Are you able to email me the recepi pleaseeeeee

    thank you so much

  20. [...] Wedding sweets! Chewy almond cake and sugared almonds. Traditionally, girls put the sugared almonds under their pillow… in [...]

  21. Ο/Η Katy λέει:

    Hi – I am marrying a Greek Cypriot and would love to make these as our wedding favours. Do you have a recipe and also would you be able to know how far in advance I am able to make these?
    Many thanks
    Katy
    P.S. Sorry if i filled in the fields wrong – I can’t read any Greek!

  22. Ο/Η Elle λέει:

    Hello I am based in Paphos and want to buy your book. can I buy from you direct otherwise i have to pay 20 GBP in postage?

    Thanks

  23. Ο/Η Chris Tophel λέει:

    I’ve never heard that there are such wedding tradition like this. Anyway this tradition is unique and at the same time, I like the wedding venue.

  24. Ο/Η creative cakes λέει:

    Your loukoumia looks good. I have been finding for a recipe for Cypriot loukoumia as I just got married and wanted to make some for friends and family for party. I would really appreciate it if you could send me your recipe. Thanks you.

  25. Ο/Η Asha λέει:

    Really awesome cakes. Indian style of making them is quite different. We used to make pure veg Cake i.e. without Egg.

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