A multi-faceted cheese
Each country has its specialty. Cyprus is known for its halloumi cheese. Nothing could be more typical of this sunny eastern Mediterranean island than this semi-hard cheese. It has been made in the traditional way for centuries, the method passed down from generation to generation. Halloumi is a trademark certified by the European Union and no other country may produce this cheese.
Halloumi is made from a mixture of goat's or sheep's milk and cow's milk. Its characteristics are the addition of fresh mint leaves as well as its unique folded shape. Halloumi contains at least 43% fat, 22% protein, a maximum 45% moisture and about 2% salt.
Because of its importance in the daily Cypriot diet, its production method was developed in a way that ensures it is available throughout the year. Its ripening time is at least 40 days. During this time, the product is salted, then placed in a cold dry room. Under these conditions it can be kept for years without refrigeration.
There are two kinds of halloumi, ripened or fresh. Ripened halloumi is a traditional product made from sheep or goat's milk. It is hard, with a moisture content of 37%, and lightly salty.
Fresh halloumi was developed commercially in Cyprus in the 1950s. This cheese may be made from sheep's, goat's or cow's milk. Its production method is based on the same principle as ripened halloumi. This cheese, however, is packaged when fresh and contains on average 24% fat (46% of dry weight), 45-50% moisture, 19% protein, 5 % minerals and 3% salt.
Like many other dairy products, halloumi is an excellent source of calcium, containing 850 mg per 100 g (cheddar contains 800 mg per 100 g and light cheese about 350 mg per 100 g).
As for cholesterol, halloumi contains 70 mg/100 g (100 mg/100 g for cheddar and 70 mg/100 g for brie). The calorie content of halloumi is about 300 cal/100 g, equivalent to a light cheese, but less than cheddar (400 cal/100 g).
Halloumi is unique in its preparation possibilities: fresh, fried, cooked or grilled, it's a delight at any time of the year. Halloumi doesn't melt when cooked or grilled, which makes it perfect for the barbecue.
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