DAFNI DAIRY – A FAMILY HISTORY
Dafni and Sotiris Theori with their family in Ekso Metochi , in Nicosia, Cyprus. Ms. Dafni is a simple housewife, dedicated to her family and her home. Eager and helpful, she does not say no when someone asks for her help. A time comes when she begins helping her mother-in-law in the making of halloumi. She helps, but at the same time she learns the secrets of the production of quality halloumi.
July 1974: Turkey invades Cyprus. The dark days began. The family escapes from the Turkish invaders, abandoning their home and property, taking with them nothing more than their lives and the lives of their 3 children (2 girls and a boy). In 1974, like thousands of Greek-Cypriots, expelled from their homes by the Turkish troops, refugees in their own country, must find a way to rebuild their lives. A task more difficult than they imagined. Their road to their final home started from the school of Avgorou, Agios Theodoros Agros, Kaimakli and ends at Anayia.
In 1977, they moved to their own house in the village of Anayia, in Nicosia. They buy few goats just enough to make cheese and yogurt for their family. However, the reputation of Mrs. Dafni’s products soon escapes the narrow family circle. The delightful taste of the homemade halloumi and yoghurt resulted in a growing demand from friends and acquaintances. That persuaded Mr & Mrs Theori, to take the big step forward and buy their own herd. The production then goes to semi-professional. But still handmade, still in a small scale.
In 1983-84 they set up their own farm in Tseri. Ms. Dafni makes sheep milk yoghurt (in clay pots) using her secret recipe and traditional halloumi. The love and care for her work, is evident on the quality and flavour of her product. And the clientele is growing. Soon the kitchen of her home is no longer suitable.
In 1990 they set up their small dairy behind their home in Anayia. The 3 girls of the family are in the business. One of her daughters studies the art of cheesemaking in Galaktokomiki Ioanninon .
From 1990 to date, the dairy, a purely family business, continues its successful course in the production of quality halloumi, “anari”, yoghurt, “flaouna” cheese and trachana.
The two awards that Dafni received from the Ministry of Agriculture (1990 and 1995) are just a confirmation of the excellent quality of their products. But the biggest confirmation are the loyal customers who insist on preferring halloumi, “anari”, “flaouna” cheese, trachana and yogurt from Dafni.
Although the business has now passed into the hands of her daughters, Ms. Dafni remains to date the driving force, the soul and the heart of the small family business.
Another market for Dafni’s halloumi is New York.