You Must Try These Greek Cheeses!
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There are plenty of other Greek cheeses besides feta! For instance, Mizithra cheese is the secret ingredient in my tiropita, but I didn’t even know about it until I was well into adulthood. Growing up, the only Greek cheese I really had exposure to was feta, and I quickly learned that even though it’s delicious, it doesn’t fulfill every need I have in the kitchen. It doesn’t exactly melt well so I found that I had to use other cheeses, like mozzarella, to fulfill that purpose.
As it turns out, there are Greek cheeses that suit every occasion, and I was missing out by not knowing about them. Now, I seek them out whenever I am able! Here’s a list of some Greek cheeses you absolutely need to try.
Mizithra is a versatile cheese that, once it’s aged, has a similar flavor to Romano cheese from Italy. It’s a whey cheese that has been made in Greece since antiquity. In fact, it’s remarkably easy to make. Sheep or goat milk is boiled on the stove. Acid such as vinegar or lemon juice is added to the boiling milk to make it curdle. The cheese is then packed into cheesecloth and left to age. This is a similar process that is used to make Italian ricotta cheese. I prefer the aged version of this cheese and frequently use it to garnish soups. I’ll also add a small amount of it to my pastitso and tiropita to give it some extra flavor.
Halloumi is a cheese that actually originates on the island of Cyprus which, even though the people speak Greek, isn’t actually a part of modern day Greece. However, it is still an important aspect of Modern Greek cuisine. The texture is very similar to fresh mozzarella that has been packed in brine, and is one of those cheeses that melts very well. In fact, it’s the cheese that’s used to make saganaki, or flaming cheese, which is essentially cheese that has been lit on fire with either ouzo or raki and served warm. The Cypriots serve it with hearty slices of watermelon during the summer months.
Kasseri is another of these Greek cheeses that you should sample whenever you see it in the markets. This is the cheese that is most often used to make pizza in Greece. It’s a fairly soft cheese that is typically made from goat or sheep milk. It’s either sold already grated or in large blocks. Aside from using it to make pizza, Greeks tend to include it in recipes that taste great with melted cheese, such as moussaka.
Of course, feta is the most popular of all the Greek cheeses. However, the feta that is widely available outside of Greece is often made with cow’s milk, which isn’t quite the same. The next time you buy feta, it’s worth tracking down imported feta cheese, which is made from either sheep or goat milk. Goats and sheep are widely available in Greece, which means that it is the milk of choice for making this famous cheese. If you’ve never tried imported feta, you should buy some the next chance you get!
Categorized in: Greek Cooking
This post was written by GreekBoston.com