Feta: The Great Greek Cheese

May 4, 2012
Shauna in Cheese

Shauna, Cheese Monger

Hello Cheese Lovers,

Here at Harmons we are always challenging ourselves to learn more, and this time the challenge was on Feta. The cheese that was born in Greece and in other Balkan countries. Feta is one of the oldest cheese around and was mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. There is a scene in Odyssey that recounts Polyphemus the Cyclops and cheese making. It is believed that he was making Feta.

Traditional Greek Feta was granted protection of origin, or D.O.P., status in 2002 but because many other countries making Feta it took the European Union high court in 2005 to, once and for all, say that Feta was a Greek cheese. This means in Europe, Feta can only come from Greece and be called Feta. It is made with sheep’s and goat’s milk and is usually 80% sheep and 20% goat. Because we are not part of the European Union we can still make our version of the cheese and call it Feta. Eventually we will abide by their ruling and name our Feta something else.

Most Feta sold in this country is made with cow’s milk and a lot of it is flavored with garlic, tomato, pepper, you name it. Feta is a great cooking cheese as well as an eating cheese. Next time you grill, try grilling a piece of Feta. Feta has a high calcium rate so it does not melt like other cheeses. I like it with a little olive oil and some cracked black pepper, throw in some olives and bread, party time!!! And the Ouzo, don’t forget the Ouzo.