The History of Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi, owing to its taste and properties, is recognized throughout the Mediterranean as the cheese jewel of Cyprus cuisine.

Halloumi is the traditional product of the island of Cyprus and is characterized as a semi-hard, un-ripened and salty cheese made from a mixture of cow, goat and sheep milk. The Halloumi cheese is produced only by the coagulation of milk with rennet without the use of dairy cultures like the other cheeses worldwide.

Halloumi cheese is unique. This is due to its versatile properties - a high melting point and a high pH, which means it can easily be fried or grilled.

Although the cheese keeps its shape, its outward appearance turns into a crispy, golden-brown colour when fried or grilled; it softens significantly but it does not melt.

The other factor contributing to the non-melting character and texture of this cheese is that the whey used for cooking the cheese during the production process must first be heated to about 91°C to bring out the whey proteins from the liquid. This whey curd is then skimmed off and drained in baskets. In Cyprus this whey cheese is known as “Anari” and it looks just like Ricotta.

If the cheese is kept at a higher temperature and the cheese is vacuum packed, it slowly turns into a hard cheese with a different aroma and flavor. To avoid this stage from occurring, the product must be kept refrigerated below 6°C.

To keep the product fresh, place it in the freezer at >-18°C and ready to consume place it in the refrigerator one day prior in order to defrost. Once defrosted it is almost as if the cheese has been produced that very day.