The Cyprus Halloumi festival took place over the weekend, but there was more to it than just halloumi.
Cyprus Community of Melbourne President Stelios Angelodimou told Neos Kosmos that it is only a matter of months before the new building would be erected, a jewel in Brunswick and “an investment for the future” as far as the youth of Cyprus are concerned.
It is hoped that the centre will do for the community of Cyprus what the Greek Centre has achieved on Lonsdale Street, offering even more cultural and educational opportunities for the community at large.
The President of the Greek Community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiadis, was present at the Cyprus Halloumi Festival to rally his support for the tasty cheese but also for the creation of the 10-storey work, estimated to be worth $50 million. Some levels will be offered for residential and commercial purposes.
Mr Papastergiadis spoke of the importance of the festival, not just to celebrate halloumi, but to celebrate unity.
He pointed to a function being organised for Arthur Sinodinos ahead of his departure for the United States where he will represent the country as Australia’s new ambassador. The Cyprus community was eager to also take part in that event, a show that Greeks and Cypriots in Australia work together side by side. “On Monday, Mr President, we will ask Mr Sinodinos for $2m for this building from the Federal Government, you and I together.”
Regarding the cheese itself, he said that he and his children Leandros and Eleni had tried the halloumi-based recipes at the festival, and added, “I’ll throw away feta and will only eat halloumi from now on.”
Mr Angelodimou remembered a time on Lonsdale Street when stakeholders from the Greek and Cyprus communities in Melbourne had sat around a small table and filled out an application for $5million for the construction of the Greek Centre. “Many times since then, with Mr Papastergiadis and I have spoken of the next dream,” Mr Angelodimou said, hoping that the time soon comes when Cypriots will also have their building in Brunswick.
He said that special focus would be cast on young people, the “future” of the Cypriot community in Australia, and the elderly, who deserve a place to gather and “ensure that their efforts have not been in vain.”
Meanwhile, Mr Angelodimou pledged that the community would do all it can to continue its efforts in promoting Cypriot cuisine, culture and heritage.
The 2nd Cyprus Halloumi Festival is just one example, which follows the success of the first halloumi fest. “We should say that Cyprus halloumi has gone beyond the borders of Cyprus and in Australia, most restaurants have halloumi,” Mr Angelodimou said. “Demand is so huge that Cypriot cheesemakers state that there is not enough halloumi in Cyprus to cater to the demand of the international market.”