The Festival of Grape Harvest and Moustalevria is held annually at Agia Paraskevi, Troianata, in the heart of the Robola wine area, Omala. The festival is one of the most important events of the year in the wine region and illustrates the cultural heritage of the area, specifically the harvest of the famous grapes which make Robola wine, the grape pressing and the production of moustalevria.
Traditional songs accompanied the grape harvest, which took place by hand, during the daytime, then in the evening the singing continued at home as the grapes were pressed by the families inside the houses. The ‘must’ (grape juice) would then be sealed into barrels to begin the fermentation process which resulting in the must turning into the world famous white wine called Robola!
But an important part of the whole process is carried out by the woman of the family, who prepare the moustalevria before the barrels are finally sealed. Moustalevria is a sweet that has been prepared since ancient times from the must (grape juice) which is boiled. The resulting reddish brown hard gel, it’s texture is similar to the of pasteli, can be eaten fresh or dried, and is sprinkled with crushed almonds in this area but there are other local variations across Greece. Although much Robola wine production is mechanised there are still families continuing the old traditions.
The festival – organised by the Troianata Cultural Centre and Regional Units of Kefallina and Ithaca – is a reenactment of the harvest, the pressing of the grapes and the production of the moustalevria. It’s a joyful evening where guests are invited to watch the process acted out and enjoy the moustalevria and Robola wine whilst watching the dancing and traditional songs of the harvest. Large numbers of local families are joined at the festival by other Kefalonians and visiting tourists, it’s an important and merry celebration!