Feta

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Photo of Feta Cheese

Feta, a soft, white Greek cheese, is traditionally made from sheep's milk or a mix of sheep's and goat's milk. Aged in brine, feta varies widely in flavor and texture—from sharp, dry, and crumbly to mild, creamy, and rich. These variations arise from differences in milk type, the diet of the sheep and goats, and cheesemaking techniques across producers and regions.

Originating in ancient Greece, feta was first mentioned during the Byzantine era and has been a staple in Greek cuisine ever since. The name 'feta,' adopted in the 19th century from the Italian word for "slice," likely refers to the method of slicing the cheese for barrel storage.

In 2002, feta received Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status within the European Union, limiting the name to cheese made in specific areas of Greece using traditional methods. This recognition has led to international disputes, requiring non-Greek producers to rename their similar cheeses.

Feta is not only prized for its role in Greek salads, pies, and other dishes but also offers nutritional benefits, such as protein and calcium. However, its high sodium content necessitates moderate consumption. Today, feta's tangy taste and crumbly texture continue to make it a beloved choice in kitchens worldwide.

Important Facts

Country of Origin Greece
Specific Origin Throughout Greece
Certification PDO (2002)
Milk Type Sheep's Milk, or blend with Goat's
Milk Treatment Pasteurized, sometimes raw
Moisture Content High
Rind None
Texture Soft, white, aged in brine
Flavor Sharp to mild
Colors White
Forms Blocks submerged in brine, barrels
Age 2 months to longer
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