About the Greek Cheese Feta

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One of the most well-known cheeses of Greece is feta. Feta has been made in Greece for thousands of years and may have even been described by Homer in Odyssey. In Greek mythology, the cyclops Polyphemus is considered the first cheese manufacturer. He discovered that after carrying the milk for several days in animal skin bags that the cheese had become solid and delicious. Another piece of Greek mythology says that Aristaeus, the son of Apollo, discovered feta cheese.

In 2002, feta Greek cheese was given PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status. This means that only true feta is that which comes from Greece. Other countries, including Israel, France, and the United States) do produce feta, but according to PDO regulations, it should have a different name or be called feta-style.

Feta Greek cheese is traditionally made of sheep’s milk. Sometimes goat’s milk is blended in. Feta cheese must have at least 45 – 60 % sheep or goat’s milk. To achieve the best feta cheese, it is cured in brine and aged for 4 – 6 weeks. This helps the cheese to pickle and take on its sharp and salty flavor. High-quality feta Greek cheese is tangy with a creamy texture and a finish that is peppery and reminiscent of ginger. There is also a hint of sweetness to the finish.

Feta is the most widely used cheese in Greece. It is a versatile white cheese that can be used as an appetizer, side dish, and as an ingredient in everything from salads to pastries. Feta can be used in just about any recipe that calls for cheese. It goes well in sandwiches, omelets, tomato-based pasta dishes, and even pairs well with watermelon. Feta is not a melting cheese, but it will soften. This makes it the ideal cheese for a dish such as baked eggplant with feta.

Type of Greek Cheese

Feta Greek cheese is a white brine cheese that is made of sheep’s milk. Sometimes goat’s milk will be combined with the sheep’s milk.

Where Feta Greek Cheese is Produced

To qualify as a PDO product, the production of milk and its ripening, must take place in Macedonia, Thrace, Thessaly, Epirus, the Peloponnese, Central Greece, and Lesvos.

Feta Greek Cheese Flavor Description

Depending on where in Greece the feta is made its flavor can vary slightly. It can be mild and sweet or tangy. Its flavor is rich and the aroma contains hints of wood and herbs as well as butter and milk.

Facts About Feta Greek Cheese

  • Feta is considered Greece’s “white gold” as it is one of the country’s most important exports
  • Feta cheese was possibly the cheese described in Homer’s Odyssey
  • Feta is also mentioned in Greek mythology
  • Barrel-aged feta is sharper in taste and harder than feta aged in tins
  • Tin-aged feta has a more mild taste and more gentle aroma making it considered a more refined product
  • Feta cheese is the most widely used cheese in Greece due to its versatility and taste

You can’t think of Greece without thinking of feta cheese.

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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