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Greek cheese varieties

Crete ● Epirus ● Naxos ● 13 July 2016
 

Greek cheese varieties

Greece produces more than 70 varieties of cheese, from those the 20 are P.D.O. (protected designation of origin). Has earned the third place in Europe after France (37) and Italy (30). We will have a look at the four most popular cheese of this country, feta, graviera, anthotyros and mizithra.

Feta

Feta is undoubtedly one of the most famous Greek cheese. In fact, Feta occupies 70% stake in Greek cheese consumption. The cheese is protected by EU legislations and only those cheeses manufactured in Macedonia, Thrace, Thessaly, Central Mainland Greece, the Peloponnese and Lesvos can be called ‘feta’.

To create traditional feta, 30 percent goat's milk is mixed with sheep's milk of animals grazing on pastures in the specific appellation of origin regions. Now-a-days, many stores sell goat and cow’s milk feta as well. The firmness, texture and flavor differ from region to region, but in general, cheese from Macedonia and Thrace is mild, softer and creamier, less salty with fewer holes. Feta made in Thessaly and Central Greece has a more intense, robust flavor. In Peloponnese feta is dryer in texture, full flavored and more open. Local environment, animal breeds, cultures all have an impact on the texture, flavor and aroma of feta.

Graviera

Graviera is Greece’s second most popular after feta. This wheel-shaped cheese is made from the mixture of cow's, goat's and sheep's milk. Graviera has a sweet and fruity taste. The hard, cooked rind has a crisscross pattern derived from the cloth in which the cheese was drained. There are various types of Graviera, for example Graviera from Crete has a burnt-caramel taste and is made from sheep's milk.

Anthotyros

Anthotyros, also known as Anthotiro is a traditional Greek whey cheese prepared from unpasteurized sheep’s and goat's milk or mixtures. Regions of Macedonia, Thrace, Thessalia, Peloponissos, Ionian Islands, Aegean islands, Crete Island and Epirus have been producing this cheese for centuries. The name Anthotyros, literally translated means “flower cheese”, comes from the wafting aromas of wild herbs. Dry Anthotyros is salted and matured Mizithra available in a truncated cone or ball. If Anthotyros is left to age, thick salt is usually added to cover the exterior. Dry Anthotyros has a hard texture, salty taste, white paste and savory flavor. It has a very powerful smell reminiscent of a sherry. When aged, it is an excellent grating cheese and can be used to augment the taste of pastas, spaghetti or salads.

Mizithra

Mizithra or Myzithra is a fresh cheese made with milk and whey from sheep and/or goats. The ratio of milk to whey usually is 7 to 3. Production resembles that of Italian ricotta though Myzithra it typically drier. Myzithra can be salt-dried to produce a mature salty cheese. It is primarily produced on the island of Crete but is widespread throughout Greece. It is in essentially the same as Anthotyros though the latter may contain some cow's milk.

Where to Stay

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