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.

Feta

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!

Mizithra

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.

Kasseri

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.

Graviera

There are different versions of cheese located in different parts of Greece. It can be made from cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or a mixture of both types of milk. This is a versatile cheese and is served in salads, eaten plain, and even incorporated into casseroles and other baked dishes involving cheese because it melts well. It has a slight nutty flavor and a smooth texture.

This semi-soft cheese is made from goat milk or sheep’s milk. It has a similar texture to feta cheese, but just a little softer. However, feta cheese is a lot saltier and the flavor undertones of Manouri are a little bit on the tangier side than feta. This can be used in a similar way as feta, however, and taste great in salads and with other dishes.

Xygalo Siteias

This is a cheese that is made primarily on the island of Crete. It is made from either goat milk or sheep milk, depending on what is available. It’s a white cheese with an incredibly creamy texture. It is typically served as an appetizer and tastes especially great when served with plenty of olive oil.

Sfela

Sfela has a similar flavor as feta, but it is a little bit stronger. it is also stored in brine a little longer than feta is, which means that it is also saltier. It is typically made from either goat milk, sheep milk, or a combination of the two milks. It is primarily made in Lakonia and Messinia, as well as other places in the Peloponnese

Pichtogalo Chanion

This cheese is mostly made in the area of Crete in and near Chania. It is made from goat milk, sheep milk, or a combination of the two. There is no rind to this cheese and it has a bit of a sour aftertaste. This lends it especially well to be served with vegetable dishes. The Cretan dish “dados” is typically topped with this cheese. It has a slightly creamy texture.

Batzos

This cheese has a similar appearance and texture to feta cheese. However, it melts a little bit easier than feta. The texture is also a little creamier than that of feta. It is considered to be a semi-hard cheese that has a lot of uses. If available, this is a nice cheese that is used for appetizers, and it is great in dishes that require a semi-hard cheese that melts pretty well.

Ladotyri Mytilinis

Ladotyri Mytilinis is made primarily on the island of Lesbos. It is typically made from a combination of sheep and goat milk. This is a hard cheese and once it is made, it is usually stored in olive oil. This gives it a smooth appearance and texture, especially on its edges. The flavor of the cheese is salty and slightly spicy. It tastes great in salads and eaten on its own.

Katiki Domokou

This cheese is created exclusively in a place called Domokou, and it is a requirement that the cheese is made from milk from goats raised exclusively in this region of Greece. It is made using a very specific method where the milk is heated to a certain temperature. It is a creamy, white cheese that is suited especially well as part of an appetizer spread.

Galotiri

This cheese is made in either Epirus or Thessaly. It is made from sheep and goat milk. It is the type of cheese that is soft and has a short shelf life. It is primarily made by farmers in their homes and is not often mass produced. It has a sour taste and is especially delicious as a condiment, in salads, or eaten by itself.

Anevato

This simple cheese is made from goat milk. It is made quickly and has the texture of cottage cheese, but slightly drier. Cottage cheese tends to be a little moister. The cheese has a slight tang to it but pairs well with honey. It can be made into some great desserts, used as a topping for salads, or even eaten by itself.

Xynomizithra 

This is another curd-based cheese that is made from goat milk. This is traditionally made on Crete, particularly in places like Chania and Lasithi. It tastes slightly sour and has a fairly short shelf life. It can be made in other parts of Greece, we well, but is mostly made in Crete. This tastes great with salads, appetizers, and other traditional Greek dishes.

Kopanisti Mykonou

This soft cheese is traditionally made in the Cyclades. It is typically made from sheep milk, goat milk, or a combination of the two. As the name suggests, it is mostly made in Mykonos. This cheese has a soft and smooth texture and has a slight, buttery flavor.

Manouri

Manouri is made in Macedonia and Thessaly. It has a creamy texture and has a similar texture to feta cheese. This cheese also melts extremely well and has a much creamier texture than that of feta. It tastes great when a meltable cheese is called for and is also a delicious choice for appetizers and salads. It tastes very good when doused with olive oil.

Kefalograviera

This cheese is either made mostly from sheep milk, or with a combination of sheep and goat milk. It is pretty much never made with only goat milk. Kefalograviera is made in Western Macedonia and Epirus and is aged for several months. The cheese is typically sold in wedges and is used throughout Greek cuisine, particularly in the regions where it is made. it melts well.

Metsovone

Metsovone cheese is made in Epirus in the Metsovo region. This area is particularly mountainous and the unique geography shapes the character of this cheese. It is similar to provolone cheese, which is made in Italy. It is one of the only cheeses in Greece that is made primarily with cow’s milk.

Formaela

This cheese is made primarily in Arachova, Greece. It has holes and a pale yellow texture. The texture is smooth and slightly creamy. This is an excellent cheese for melting. It is a pretty popular cheese for making saganaki because it melts particularly well.

Kalathaki Limnou

Kalathaki Limnoi cheese is soft and has a creamy texture. It is made with either sheep milk, goat milk, or a combination of the two. The flavor is similar to feta, except this cheese on the softer side compared to feta. It tastes especially good when used to top salads or when included in vegetable dishes.

Graviera Kritis

This cheese is made with goat milk, or a combination of goat and sheep milk. It has a smooth and creamy texture and melts well. It is mostly made in Crete in areas like Rethymnon, Chania, Heraklion, and Lasithi. It has a primary sweet taste, but there are salty undertones because of how it is prepared.

San Michali

This hard cheese has a similar texture as aged Parmesan or Romano cheese. It lends itself well to being grated and is often used to top pasta dishes. A little bit goes a long way because the flavor is so distinct. It can also be eaten plane, served as an appetizer, and can be used to top salads.

As you can see, there is a lot more to Greek cheese than what you may have realized! There are a lot of different cheeses in Greece and they all have different purposes.

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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