About Cyprus

Halloumi Cheese: The Pride of Cyprus


Сыр халлуми  - победитель конкурсаCypriots are proud that their halloumi cheese won a gold medal at the international cheese competition World Cheese Awards in 2013, which took place in Birmingham (UK) under the auspices of the international exhibition ‘Good Food Show’.  More than 2,500 types of cheese from 30 countries were presented so it was indeed an achievement.  The jury included 220 specialists from 20 countries around the world.

The Pissourkotiko brand of halloumi, produced by Xaralampidis Kristis, was acknowledged to be the best in its category for its uniqueness and quality.  Such a high award will undoubtedly help increase exports, although there are many fans of this cheese outside Cyprus already.  The BBC declared halloumi the best cheese for the barbeque.

What is so special about halloumi?

Халлуми на грилеHalloumi is packed in brine and is a white, slightly salty, firm, cheese with no distinct flavour. The name may have originated from the old Greek word ‘almi’ which means brine.

The cheese is made from either sheep’s milk, or a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk.  Halloumi does not melt at high temperatures which means it can be grilled until crispy.

The secret of this cheese’ production in Cyprus dates back to before the island was conquered by the Turks in 1571. There is a document written by Doge Leonardo Dono in 1551 which corroborates this.

Most Cypriot housewives can make halloumi.  Its main ingredients, apart from milk, are rennet, salt and fresh or dried mint.  Anyone who’s made cottage cheese at home will have no difficulty making halloumi.

How do you eat halloumi?

Халлуми с арбузомYou can fry halloumi and put it in a toasted sandwich.  It sets off the taste of watermelon perfectly, and for many Cypriots it is an obligatory addition.  It’s added to salads and grated into sauces.  It’s found in Cypriot Easter buns, called flaunes, and in ravioli.  It’s a wonderful addition to trakhana and lemon and chicken soups.  Halloumi is also pickled in liqueur together with fruit.

Such is this wonderful cheese! When you come to Cyprus, you must try halloumi with Cypriot wine!

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