guide to feta and other Greek cheeses

A quick guide to feta and other Greek cheeses

Andreas Labridis, owner of Greek restaurant Opso in Marylebone, tells us all about Greek cheese, what it goes well with, and how to use it in recipes.

We Greeks love cheese – we have the highest consumption of cheese per capita in the world, at around 22 kilos per person annually. In fact, Greek mythology credited the god Aristaeus with the discovery of cheese.

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Feta is the best known, and has Protected Designation of Origin. It is produced in a traditional way in parts of mainland Greece, as well as some of the islands. Feta is made from sheep’s milk or from a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. Although it is savoury and salty, it works really well with sweet jams, chutneys and fruit. Watermelon and feta salad sprinkled with Greek basil is delicious. At Opso, our feta is barrel-matured and served with sourdough.

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There are at least 60 other kinds of cheese made in Greece, ranging from soft and mild to hard yellow and naturally fermented. On our cheeseboard, we feature cow’s milk cheese such as manouri, produced in central Greece, and graviera, from the island of Naxos. We add a sour cherry spoon-sweet, which is a traditional fruit preserve, served on a spoon, to add sweetness and texture to the cheese. We are most proud of our fried metsovone, a smoked cheese made from cow’s (or cows and goat’s) milk. We deep-fry it and serve it with rhubarb jam.