Halloumi cheese comes from Cyprus, where its average consumption per capita is 8 kg per year. It is a white, semi-hard cheese made from unpasteurised sheep's milk, from a mixture of sheep and goats, possibly with the addition of cow's milk. Halloumi taste is sometimes enriched with the addition of mint. The recipe for its production has been unchanged for centuries. A characteristic feature is a fairly elastic consistency and a high melting temperature, which makes the cheese perfectly tolerate barbecuing or frying. It is quite salty, because 3% of its weight is salt, so if we intend to use a halloumi for a dish, we do not give it anymore. Halloumi is very popular in Greece, the Middle East, Europe and the United States, but the best quality Halloumi must come from Cyprus.
Although you can also buy this cheese in our stores, however, before that it's worth to look at its label and read where it was made. This is quite important because, due to its growing popularity, some countries are trying to produce it, but not always with a good effect. After repeated tests with a clear conscience, we can only recommend Greek products because they retain their properties. Others can simply melt when trying to grill.
The preparation of grilled halloumi is simple and fast. Cut the cheese into slices approximately 1 centimeter wide and lubricate on both sides with olive oil. Warm up a cast iron grill pan until a little bit of oil placed on it starts to smoke. Then we reduce the fire a little and put the slices of cheese. We grill about 1 minute on each side. Repeat the griiling process until you see clear brown stripes on the slices.
We can serve grilled cheese with garlic bread or as an addition to vegetable dishes. Cypriots mastered the combination of halloumi with other ingredients and have dozens of dishes with this cheese. They serve it most often with vegetables or fruit, but also as an addition to pork or lamb.
We were eating this meal for the first time in Rethymno in one of the humble family taverns outside the main tourist trail. We were surprised by the slightly different taste of breadcrumbs that we wanted to recreate in our kitchen. As we have managed to establish with the friendly Greeks, it is the addition of beer that is responsible for this characteristic taste.
Fried saganaki cheese is one of the most popular mezes that can be found in Greek taverns. It is an extremely tasty, but filling and salty snack. When ordering it in a tavern or preparing it yourself, you must also remember that it is a real caloric bomb.
Kalitsounia is a quite labor-intensive dish similar to the dumplings. Like them, they can contain various types of filling, both in the salty and sweet versions. However, in contrast to the calitsounia dumplings, they are deeply fried in deep oil or baked in the oven.