If you are a cheese lover like me, then Cyprus cheese is a gourmet's delight. While most people are probably familiar with halloumi, otherwise known as the "squeaky cheese" and feta, the two most popular cheeses in Cyprus, there are other cheeses here worth seeking out.
More importantly, if you want to sample REAL authentic Cyprus cheese, then avoid supermarket aisles; even the delicatessen cheese sold there - it's mass produced and the halloumi in particular, is very rubbery!
The halloumi sizzling away in the picture here is from our local village of Droushia. ALL the cheese there is made from pure goat's milk delivered fresh daily from the goat farms on the Akamas peninsula; most supermarket cheese is made at least in part from cow's milk so is not strictly authentic.
Not only is it cheaper to buy halloumi Cyprus cheese from Maria who runs the village dairy (€5/kilo), it is truly delicious. You can buy it either salted or unsalted (my preference).
Tip: This cheese is not rubbery and is best eaten straight from the pan when it can still "melt" in your mouth. The real thing lives up to it's name here in Cyprus as "white gold."
Delicious Feta Salad
You will come across feta cheese in every Cypriot village/Greek salad, but the quality varies wildly. It is not cheap to buy the best quality feta, so the tourist restaurants tend to use mass produced and largely tasteless feta in most salads.
Our village feta from Droushia is another favourite and, as it is made from 100% goat's milk, it has a strong taste that is truly delicious. Our local village tavernas use this feta in their salads, so you know where to go if you want to taste it!
There is a little known cheese called halitzi (pronounced "haleecha" at least in Droushia dialect!) and is a bit like feta with tiny holes through the cheese. More sour in taste than normal feta, it is worth trying if you are near Droushia and have time to pop into the dairy.
Only a few people on the island still make this variety, so we are very lucky. It hails from the Tylliria region in Kato Pyrgos close to the border with the TRNC.
Tip: To sample authentic artisan Cyprus cheese - feta or halloumi - eat inland away from the coast at a village taverna.
Artisan village cheese - Pafitiko
There are other types of Cyprus cheese which are less familiar to travellers and even those who have lived on the island for many years. Here are some of my favourites:
Tip: Try to buy FRESH Anari from a village dairy, just after it's been made. It will still be warm and tastes amazing spooned just like yoghurt or cream onto fruit, a pudding or simply on its own.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about my Cyprus cheese tips. Hopefully you can sample some authentic village halloumi and feta on your next visit to the island.
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