Deeper into the Secrets of Halloumi Cheese | Charalambides Christis
December 27, 2021
Halloumi is widely known as the trademark cheese of Cypriot cuisine and the main export product of the island. But what do you know about its production process and its serving secrets?
Halloumi can be found in two forms: fresh and mature. Fresh halloumi cheese is a semi-hard, elastic, white to light yellow cheese, stored in its natural brine. Traditionally, producers used to wrap it with fresh mint leaves, in order to preserve it; however, nowadays the mint is added only for flavour, during the last phase of production. Mature halloumi is hard and less elastic, since it contains a lower percentage of humidity. When cooked, halloumi gets softer.
In the taste of fresh halloumi dominates the mint and the fresh milk, flower and animal notes. The main taste is salty and spicy, but also sweet with caramel notes, when cooked. Mature halloumi’s taste is more intense, as expected, with stronger aromas that last longer.
Halloumi is a quite salty cheese. If you are not that much in the “salty side”, you could rinse it in cold water and dry with some kitchen paper, or even soak it in water for up to an hour, before using it.
How to eat halloumi
You can try it raw in a green salad or in a classic tomato, cucumber and olive oil salad. Besides, it goes well with sweet flavours, such as watermelon (as locals eat it), honey, or even jam or traditional sweets made of fruits in syrup.
You can grate halloumi on top of a pasta dish, especially if it contains chicken and grilled tomatoes. Add some lemon drops for extra taste.
Fried halloumi can be found in a Cypriot high-fat breakfast, along with eggs, tomato and cucumber, or even lountza, the traditional wine-flavored, smoked pork sausage.
Halloumi is also a perfect cheese for the grill, because it doesn’t melt. All of its unique scents become stronger when grilled. If you prefer vegetarian choices, you can go even for a vegetarian souvlaki with grilled halloumi and grilled vegetables, like tomato, zucchini, mushrooms etc. You have to try this one!
Whether you decide to try Halloumi Cheese raw, grated, fried or grilled, its’ taste will remain unique in its own way. Try out some of the different recipes mentioned here and discover the new ways you, your friends and your family can enjoy this Cypriot cheese.