There are over 60 local Greeek Cheeses that range in texture and flavor from hard to spreadable, fresh to old-aged, smoked and nutty. Cheese has been a rich part of Greece’s cuisine throughout history. In ancient times Greeks had even named a god who was said to protect the production of Cheese, Aristaios, son of Apollon.
- The most well-known and biggest export outside of Greece is Feta. Feta is made from sheep’s milk or from a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk and then stored in barrels filled with brine for at least 2 months before it can be consumed or sold. This cheese is used as a table cheese, in salads such as Greek salad, and in traditional savory pastries, like tiropita.
2. Graviera is the traditional cheese of the island of Crete. It is a hard cheese, light yellow in color, which tastes quite sweet and nutty. It is made with either cow’s milk, or sheep’s milk, let to be aged for a minimum of 5 months, before consuming. The two most common uses of Graviera are either sprinkled over salads and pasta or as an appetizer.
3. Kaseri is an unpasteurized yellow cheese, medium to hard and has a stringy texture. Traditionally it is made with 100% sheep’s milk, but depending on the area of production and traditions involved, it might also contain some goat’s milk. The cheese is aged for four months before being served and most popular ways of serving it includes adding it to pies and casserole meals or as a table cheese.
4. Another traditional hard Greek cheese is the Kefalotyri. This particular cheese is quite salty and is made by both cow’s and sheep’s milk and then let to be aged for three months. The taste and texture of Kefalotyri resembles the Italian Parmesan cheese and that’s why it is very common for Greeks to grate this cheese over spaghetti, salads and other dishes.
5. Manouri is a semi-soft fresh white whey cheese, made from goat or sheep’ milk, similar to the production of Feta. The production of Manouri is held in the northern of Greece, in the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia.
6. Kopanisti is a salty spicy cheese that originated from the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, like Mykonos, Andros, Tinos, Naxos for over 300 years. This cheese is made from cow, sheep, or goat’s milk or a mixture of 2 of them. Kopanisti as a word is translated in the Greek language as something that has been beaten, which refers to the technique used to produce and prepare this cheese.
7. Saganaki Cheese is not a particular type of Cheese, as many probably think, but instead, it refers to fried cheese. The types of cheese most often used to make a Saganaki are: Graviera, Kasseri, Kefalotyri, or Feta Cheese. Spread some lemon on it and there you have it – the most delicious and simple greek appetizer.