Greek cheeses

Apart from feta there are more than 60 regional Greek cheeses ranging in flavor and texture from soft, spreadable and sour, to sharp and hard, to smoked and nutty. Of these, 20 are Protected Designation of Origin cheeses, but only a few ever make it outside the country’s borders. These tend to be the most popular table cheeses. Among them are

• The mild, semi-hard sheep’s milk “Kasseri”, which is in the pasta filata family of cheeses and is not dissimilar to the Balkan kaskeval. The best comes from Macedonia, especially Soho, outside Thessaloniki.

• “Graviera”, a delicious, nutty, mild-to-sharp cheese that is made predominantly with sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk, or, in the Cycladic islands of Tinos and Naxos, with cow’s milk. Cretan sheep’s milk graviera is probably the most widely available.

• “Manouri”, a delicious creamy whey cheese similar to the Italian ricotta salata, is an excellent dessert cheese.

• Another delicious Greek cheese, and one especially suited to red wine, is the smoked “Metsovone”, a cheese shaped in logs, aged, smoked, then dipped in wax.

• The fez-shaped “Ladotyri” of Mytillene, a hard cheese aged in olive oil, is also an excellent accompaniment to red wine.

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