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Though feta is the most well known Greek cheese, it is by no means the only one. As we mentioned in our previous article, cheese is an important part of Greek life and cuisine, so it is no surprise that there are many varieties, each with their own taste and characteristics.
Cheese making is a matter of regional pride and many of the cheeses listed below bear the name of the town or region where they are made. This is just a brief overview of some of the characteristics of some of the Greek cheeses. But don’t take our word for it; buy some Greek cheese to try out for yourself!
Anthrotiros is made from whey from sheep and goat milk. It has been made in Greece for many centuries. Fresh Anthotiros is soft and mild, suitable as a table cheese or in cheese pastries. Dried Anthotiros is hard and salty with a rich flavor and is often used grated.
Formaella of Parnassos originates in the Arachova region at the foot of the Parnassos mountain in southwestern Greece. It is hard with a pleasantly sharp taste. It ripens for at least 3 months, giving it a rich flavor.
Galotiri is one of the oldest Greek cheeses. It has a soft texture that is very spreadable and a tart yet refreshing taste.
Graviera cheeses are generally labeled with the name of the area or island where they are made. They are typically hard with flavors that range from sweet to salty. They are ripened for 3 to 6 months, depending on the variety. It melts well and is often used in casseroles and risottos but is also a good table cheese and pairs well with cold cuts.
Halloumi is considered to be one of the classic Greek cheeses. It can be heated without losing its shape and is often used for grilling. It has been nicknamed the “squeaky cheese” because of the sound it makes when chewed.
Kalathaki of Limnos has a soft texture and a slightly sour and salty taste, similar to Feta. It can be used as a table cheese, on salads, in pastries, and as “saganaki” (shallow fried cheese).
Kasseri is one of the few yellow Greek cheeses. It is semi-hard and can be used for pizza or as a table cheese. It is similar to provolone but has a milder, more buttery flavor. It is produced from cooking fresh kefalotiri.
Kefalotiri is considered the ancestor of many hard Greek cheeses. It has a rich aroma and a salty taste. It is used as a table cheese, grated on pastas, in cheese pastries, and as saganaki.
Kopanisti is made exclusively in the Cyclades islands off the south coast of Greece. It is intensely salty and has a soft texture and rich flavor, making it perfect in cheese pastries as a snack with wine.
The name of Ladotiri cheese comes from the words “ladi,” meaning “olive oil” and “tiri,” meaning cheese. The name comes from the manufacturing process since it is preserved in olive oil. It is also called “Kefalaki” (small head) thanks to its distinctive shape. It is made exclusively on Mitilini Island where it is ripened for at least 3 months to give it a strong flavor with a slightly salty taste. It has a hard texture and is mainly used as a table cheese.
Manouri is a soft cheese made in Central and Western Macedonia and in Thessalia. It is made from whey and has a unique taste and sweet flavor. It has a similar texture to ricotta and is often used in pastries and desserts, though it also makes a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and appetizers.
Metsovone is a hard smoked cheese from the Metsovo region. It is one of the few Greek cheese made from cow’s milk and is considered an excellent quality table cheese.
Mizithra has been made in Greece for thousands of years and is considered the ancestor of all Greek whey cheeses. It can be made from any combination of milks. Fresh mizithra is similar to ricotta and must be eaten shortly after it’s made so it doesn’t spoil. Dried mizithra is salted and aged until hard, making it idea for cooking and as a grated topping. There are special pies and sweet tarts in Crete that are made specifically with mizithra cheese.
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