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Types Of Cheese From Greece

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October 1, 2017 / Greek / By
ETG - Food For Thought

After talking about the types of cheese from France, the types of cheese from Italy and the types of cheese from Switzerland, it is time for our fourth article of the Types Of Cheese From… series. This time we will talk about the types of cheese from Greece.

The most famous Greek cheese is probably feta, however, cheese is a huge part of Greece’s history, ancient Greeks even had a God designated for cheese. According to the legends, Aristaios, Apollo’s son, was the God that brought cheese and other food staples like honey, olives and medicinal herbs to Greece. Since then, Greek people have continued to produce amazing cheeses with various textures and tastes. From salty appetizer cheese to yellow table cheese and sweet dessert cheese, there are numerous Greek cheese options for foodies who love to explore the world’s best cheeses.

Since some Greek cheeses are one of the finest in the world, they are protected by the EU under PDO (protected designation of origin) which means that those specific type of cheeses cannot be made in other parts of the world.

Feta

The most famous Greek cheese, feta, is a PDO type of cheese that can be made only on some Greek islands and in Central Mainland Greece but similar types of cheese are produced in other European countries as well.

Traditional feta includes 30% unpasteurized goat milk mixed with unpasteurized sheep’s milk and aged for approximately six months. This white cheese is a soft and brined type with a creamy and crumbly texture but the texture varies from region to region. The flavor is tangy and salty and the cheese has a very strong aroma with nutty accents.

Manouri

Image source: By Antonio Fajardo i López (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Another PDO type of cheese, Manouri is the semi-soft type of cheese produced exclusively in some part of Macedonia and Thessaly. This semi-soft type of cheese is made from pasteurized sheep and goat milk derived from the production of hard cheeses in which the Greek cheese makers add some milk or cream to obtain the perfect Manouri texture. Speaking of texture, Manouri is similar to cheesecake in texture and it is a great cheese for desserts, especially sweet pastries but can also be served for breakfast. The flavors of Mannouri are mild and somehow lemony and the aroma is very fresh and milky.

Anthotyro

Image source: By Giorgos ab1234 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Anthotyros is a traditional Greek cheese made from unpasteurized sheep and goat milk and it is also known in Greece as Anthotiro. Anthotyros means flower cheese in Greece and the name comes from the wild herbs used in the cheese making process.

There are two types of Anthotyros you can purchase in Greece: dry Anthotyros, also known as Anthotyros Xero and fresh Anthotyros, known as Anthotyros Fresco.

The dry variety is white, it has a hard texture and it is a very salty type of cheese with a powerful smell. Anthotyros Xero is a great grating cheese since it is so crumbly and it is usually used on pasta dishes and, sometimes, in salads.

Both Anthotyros kinds of cheese are made in Macedonia and in some Greek islands including Crete and Ionian Island.

Graviera

Image source: By PRA (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Graviera is the second most popular cheese in Greece after feta. This type of hard cheese is a wheel-shaped type of cheese prepared with a mix of goat milk, sheep milk and cow milk. The exterior rind is very hard and the inside texture is oily. The flavor of the cheese is sweet and the aroma is quite fruity. However, Graviera can also have a caramel taste in some regions of Greece, for example in Crete where the cheese is made only from sheep’s milk.

Myzithra

By grongar [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Myzithra or Mizithra is another type of cheese from Greece that comes in two versions – dry and fresh. In some areas of Greece Myzithra is a hard type of cheese while in others Myzithra is an unsalted soft cheese similar to Anthotyro. Both varieties are white cheeses made from cow or sheep milk.

The fresh variety is perfect for breakfast when combined with fruits, nuts, and honey. Dried Myzithra is an excellent grating cheese and it usually comes in the shape of a ball.

Kefalotyri

Image source: By J.P.Lon (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kefalotyri, also known as kefalotiri, is a cheese made from sheep milk, goat milk or a combination of the two. This Greek-Cypriot cheese is a yellow, hard cheese with a dry texture and a very distinct flavor. It is believed that Kefalotyri is the cheese that all the other hard cheeses derived from since the origins of it date back to the Byzantine era.

Some cheesemakers age Kefalotyri for more than a year to obtain a dry cheese with a strong, spicy flavor and a rich texture while others age it for two to three months for a mild flavor. Kefalotyri is similar in taste with gruyere but it is a little bit saltier and harder than the Swiss cheese and it can be consumed on a cheeseboard alongside seasonal fruits like pears and grapes or added to various pasta dishes or cooked dishes alongside a glass of red wine.  Kefalotyri is also amazing on pizza, French fries, and salads.

Ladotyri

Image source: kostarelos.gr

Ladotyri is made only in Lesvos (northeastern Aegean) and Zakynthos and even though these two varieties are similar and share the same name, there are also some noticeable differences between them. Ladotyri varieties have the same oily texture and the same flavor and color, however, the Lesvos variety which is the most popular Ladotyri cheese is a type of kefalotiry cheese stored in olive oil while the Zakynthos type is more similar to feta and it has a more pungent aroma.

Lesvos’ Ladotyri is a PDO cheese made with a combination of sheep and goat milk during a very specific and time-consuming cheese making process that leads to the rich flavor and the hard texture. The color of Ladotyri is yellow and the flavor of it develops during the time spent submerged in the olive oil. The longer it is kept olive oil the better the peppery flavor.

Zakynthos’ Lavotyri is made by small local artisan cheesemakers and it is made following a different process but those who love a cheese with a pungent aroma will love this variety more than the one from Lesvos.

Melipasto

Image source: kostarelos.gr

Melipasto is a Greek cheese produce in the Greek island Limnos and it is a sheep milk or a sheep milk and goat milk type of cheese that is dried outside and salted with seawater instead of brine. The color of Melipasto is white or a very pale yellow and the taste is a delicious mix of sweet and salty – the outside of the cheese is salty and sharp while the inside is sweet and soft. The texture of Melipasto is semi-firm and the aroma is earthy with nutty undertones. Melipasto is great on cheeseboards alongside seasonal fruits but it is also an amazing type of melted cheese that can be prepared in the oven.

Formaella

Image source: Greek Guide

Formaella or Formaella Parnassou is a cheese produced in Parnassau, in Central Mainland Greece, and it is a PDO type of cheese since 1996. The origins of Formaella are not well-known but it is believed that is a type of formagella cheese from Italy. After it arrived in Greece over a century ago, formagella become what we know today as the Greek Formaella.

Formaella is an ivory-colored cheese made from unpasteurized sheep milk that comes in a cylindrical shape and ridged exterior. The cheese is a type of semi-hard cheese that has a mild flavor and it is a perfect grating cheese but is also amazing when grilled because it is firm.

Metsovone

Image source: By C messier (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Metsovone is a smoked cheese with a hard texture that is considered one of Greece’s best table cheeses. Metsovone is a PDO type of cheese as well and it is produced only in Metsovo but the inspiration for this type of cheese came from Italy’s provolone. Made from 80% cow milk and 20% of sheep or goat milk, Metsovone requires a specific cheese-making process and up to five months of aging. If served as a table cheese, Metsovone is amazing on its own but Greek people also love to grill Metsovone and to sprinkle it with paprika or cayenne pepper to add something spicy to the amazing smoked flavor.

 


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