One Dozen Greek Cheeses that Aren't Feta
Name a Greek cheese. Chances are that you named Feta cheese. It is the most popular and best-known cheese that comes from Greece. However, it's not the only Greek cheese available. There are quite a few different cheeses from Greece, some of which are very similar to feta and others that are strikingly different. If you want to expand your culinary horizons then consider trying one or more of the following twelve types of Greek cheese:
- Anthotyros. This is a type of Greek cheese that comes in two different forms depending on whether or not it has been aged. When aged, it is salty and is most commonly grated and used as an ingredient in dishes such as pasta dishes. When it is not aged, it's a softer cheese that tends to be sweeter in taste. In fact, it is sometimes considered a breakfast cheese, eaten with honey and fruit. This type of Greek cheese may be made from sheep's milk or goat's milk.
- Graviera. This is a Greek cheese that is fairly easy to locate outside of Greece as it has become increasingly popular in many markets over the years. It is a sheep's milk cheese (although sometimes it includes some goat's milk as well). It is a hard cheese with a slightly sweet flavor (sometimes described as a nutty flavor). It can be eaten alone but is also used as a topping or an ingredient in many Greek dishes. The most common cheese that it is considered similar to is Gruyere.
- Haloumi. This is a very popular Greek cheese even though it's not quite as popular as feta is. You can find it easily in most grocery stores and shouldn't have any trouble getting it a specialty cheese store in your area. It is very similar to feta in taste and texture although it is considerably milder than feta is. It is made from a mixture of sheep's milk and goat's milk. A major characteristic of this cheese is that it isn't very meltable which makes it an ideal cheese for grilling or frying.
- Kaseri. This type of Greek cheese isn't too similar to feta in comparison to some of the other Greek cheeses. In fact, it's much more similar to mozzarella than it is to feta. However, it does have a tangier taste than mozzarella does. It's a popular cheese from Greece and actually one of the oldest cheeses in the world. Many people like it because it's not only good in recipes but also can easily be eaten alone. Kaseri is another cheese made from sheep's milk.
- Kefalograviera. The reason that I know this cheese is because it's the most common cheese used in my favorite Greek dish - saganaki. Saganaki is a fried cheese dish and this cheese is great for it because it's a hard cheese with a rich, salty taste. This cheese is a sheep's milk cheese.
- Kefalotiri. This type of Greek cheese isn't always easy to find in the United States but it's one of the most popular cheeses in Greece. (And it can be found or ordered in the U.S. if you check with specialty cheese shops.) It is a hard cheese that is salty in taste and is commonly used as a grated cheese over various dishes. It may also be breaded and fried.
- Ladotyri. This is a Greek cheese made from full-fat sheep's milk. It is very rich in flavor and salty in taste. This cheese is interesting to purchase because it comes in a jar and is immersed in olive oil. Ladotyri might not be as easy to locate outside of Greece as some of the other Greek cheeses are.
- Manouri. This Greek cheese is considered similar to feta because it is a sheep's milk cheese that tends to crumble in texture the same way that feta does. However, it's a sweet cheese instead of a salty or bitter cheese. It is described as having a slightly fruity flavor and is frequently used as a dessert cheese or in dishes calling for a rich sweet cheese.
- Metsovone. Also known by the longer name Kapnisto Metsovone, this is one of the very rare smoked cheeses that comes from Greece. It's completely different from feta as well as from the other cheeses on this list due to the smoked nature. It has a slightly sharp taste, somewhat similar to that of Swiss cheese. This is also one of the few Greek cheeses that is made from cow's milk although it may be combined with goat's milk in the processing.
- Mizithra. This type of Greek cheese is one of the most interesting varieties that you might come across. That's because there are two different types - an aged version that can be grated for use in recipes and a soft version that is similar in texture to Ricotta cheese. It is an unsalted cheese that tends to be sweet in flavor. It is made from sheep's milk or goat's milk. Note that anthotyros (described above) is a variation on the mizithra cheese so they are very similar to one another.
- Telemes. In terms of taste and texture, Telemes is very similar to feta cheese from Greece. However, it is made from cow's milk instead of sheep's milk or goat's milk. It is one of the few cheeses from Greece that is made from cow's milk. This gives it a slightly richer feeling that is preferable to some people. A good Greek cheese tasting even would definitely include this option to compare it to the more popular feta cheese!
- Touloumotiri. This might be one of the more difficult Greek cheeses for you to find outside of Greece. It is a sweet sheep's milk cheese (or sometimes goat's milk) that is kept moist by storing it inside of a sheepskin (or goatskin) bag. This novelty doesn't always appeal to consumers outside of the Greek market but is definitely worth checking out if you're in Greece!
- BBC Guide to Greek Cheeses
Descriptions of all of the different types of Greek cheeses available including not only those written about in this article but numerous others as well.
- Greek cheeses
Overview of the different types of greek cheeses including feta cheese as well as the twelve other cheeses discussed throughout this article.