Hard cheeses

Anthotiros: an air- dried, salty and matured version of the soft anthotiros. It has very rich flavour. It is often consumed as a snack with olives and paximadi, as a table cheese, in salads, grated in pasta dishes, with very fresh almonds.

Arseniko (island of Naxos): the ‘male’ cheese from Naxos (arseniko= male) is a kind of matured kefalograviera which is produced from the goat’s morning-milk . It is eaten at table, grated, in pies.

Chloro (Santorini island): the dried and matured in brine version of the homonymic fresh soft cheese. It is consumed grated.

Corfu: it is a speciality of Corfu island since 1965, a cow’s milk cheese, similar to italian pecorino. This unique, piquant cheese is eaten at table and grated, after a 3 months ripening.

Formaela (region of Arachova at the foot of the Parnassos mountain): it is made with sheep’s or/and goat’s milk. It is a cheese of cylindrical shape, with spicy and rich flavour. It should be eaten roasted or as saganaki. (DOC).

Gilomeno or manoura gilomeni (Sifnos): ‘gilomeno’ is the local word for wine-lees. The manoura (see the List of Soft Cheeses) is shaped into small heads and matured for several months in the wine residue. It is one of the greatest greek cheeses with extraodinary flavour. It is eaten at table, with barley paximadia, grated in pasta dishes, in pies, with fresh figs and grapes, with dried figs and nuts.

Graviera: it is the final result of Nikos Zigouris’ attempt to reproduce the swiss Gruyere in Greece (1914). Its taste ranges from sweet to piquant depending on its ripening. Although it is produced from Macedonia to Crete and from Ionian islands to east Aegean islands, only three regions have won the appelation of origin status: Agrafa, Crete and Naxos.

Graviera of Agrafa. It is produced from unpasteurized sheep’s milk. It is shaped in round pieces of 10-25 kilos and its mass is full of small holes. It is eaten after a 3 months ripening. It is consumed with a piece of bread, at table, with fruits.(DOC)
Graviera of Crete: a high quality cheese with a slightly sweet flavour. It is made with sheep’s unpasteurized milk or mixtures with small quantities of goat’s milk. It is shaped in round pieces of 3-25 kilos, it has natural skin and, depending on the production area, its mass is full of smaller or bigger round holes. It is eaten, after a 6 – 10 months ripening, at table, as a snack with a piece of bread or a paximadi, in pies, as saganaki, with fruits (especially with fresh figs and grapes), with dried figs and nuts, sprinkled with a fine quality honey. (DOC)

Graviera of Naxos: it is made with pasteurized cow’s milk. Rarely a small proportion of sheep’s milk is added. It is shaped in pieces of 10 kilos. It is eaten at table, as saganaki, with grapes and melon. (DOC)

Kathoura: the dried kathoura from Ikaria island. It is used grated.

Kefalograviera (West Macedonia, Epirous, Thessaly, Aetoloacarnania, Crete). The technology of kefalograviera was developed in 1967 by the cheese – maker Alexis Pappas (Epirous). This cheese stands between graviera and kefalotyri and is made with cow’s and sheep’s or/and goat’s pasteurized milk. The kefalograviera from Crete is produced from sheep’s milk. It ripens at least for 4 months and it is consumed at table, grated, or as saganaki.

Kefalotyri (Macedonia, Thessaly, Epirus, Sterea, Peloponesos, Ionian islands, Cyclades islands, Crete): a salty, piquant fat cheese which is used grated, as saganaki, in pies, as a snack. It is produced from unpasteurized sheep’s mikl (Crete) or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk.The kefalotyri of Crete is of high quality and has won the appelation of origin status. Its rich taste and aroma is obtained after a 5-6 months ripening. The most excellent kefalotyri is the one which is left to mature in caves. (DOC)

Krasotyri (Kos, Nisyros): a unique spicy cheese which is traditionally made with goat’s milk. In Kos it is made also with cow’s milk. It is a sun-dried cheese which stays in a brine of boiled vinegar and salt or a mixture of boiled wine, vinegar and salt. This wine flavoured cheese is delicious when is eaten with homemade fresh bread and raw or boiled vegetables sprinkled with fine olive oil.

Ladograviera (Zakynthos island): it is a graviera which after a 2 weeks ripening, is placed in barrels with olive oil.

Ladotyri ( Lesvos): a delicious yellow-red cheese with rich spicy taste and flavour. It is shaped like small barrel and matured in olive oil for several months. It’s name derives from the greek words lado < ladi=oil and tyri=cheese. It is produced from sheep’s and goat’s milk. This cheese is mainly eaten at table. (DOC)

Leriko (Leros island): it is a very dried mizithra, which is made with milk mixed with seawater before the cheese sets. It is used at table, grated, in pies.

Maisio (it is made by Baron Tositsa Foundation in Epirus). It is also called batz(s)isio, because the sheep-fold is called batz(s)os by the Vlachs. It is a great very hard white cheese, which is produced from the milk of semi-wild goats. Ground peppercorns are added in its mass before its ripening. Its pungent taste asks only homemade bread and tsipouro.

Melipasto or melichloro (Lemnos). Traditionally it is made with sheep’s milk. It stays under sun for 2-2 ½ weeks to mature and then it is washed with seawater. It is consumed at table, in local pasta, as saganaki, cooked.

Mizithra (regions throught Greece): a type of dried mizithra. It is used for grating.

San Michali (Syros island): San Michali is the local Roman Catholic Church of Syros. The cheese is one of the few greek cheeses which are made exclusively with cow’s milk. This rather new cheese has piquant taste and is eaten at table, grated, roasted, as saganaki and in pies. Sometimes it tastes like italian Parmezana. (DOC)

Sclavotyri (Tinos): a cheese similar to volaki which is shaped in baskets.

Sfela (southern Peloponnesos). If the semisoft sfela is left to mature out of brine, it becomes similar to kefalotyri. It is used grated and swallow –fried as saganaki

Tyrozouli (Crete: Rethymno): an air-dried cheese which is made with goat’s or sheep’s milk. The milk is coagulated with the juice of the fig. Usually it is eaten soft and fresh but it is a great cheese if it will be consumed hard and matured in olive oil.

Vlahotyri (Metsovo of Epirus): it is made with sheep’s or cow’s milk.

Volaki (Tinos island): an air-dried, hard, salty and very tasty cheese, which is made with cow’s milk. It is shaped as a small ball (volaki= very small ball). Try it with a piece of fresh homemade bread.

Xynotiro or xinotyri (Cyclades islands): a hard, flaky cheese with a sour taste (‘xino’ is the greek word for sour) which is the dried version of soft xinomizithra.

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5 thoughts on “Hard cheeses

  1. Θα ήθελα να ρωτήσω κάτι… πολύ ωραίες όλες αυτές οι πληροφορίες σας… αλλά από που τις πήρατε; κάνω την διπλωματική εργασία μου πάνω στα τυριά απο μη παστεριωμένο γάλα και θα ήθελα να χρησιμοποιήσω μερικές από τις πληροφορίες σας και θα ήθελα αν μπορούσατε να μου πείτε μερική από την βιβλιογραφία που χρησιμοποιείσατε!
    Σας ευχαριστώ πολύ

  2. Σας ευχαριστώ πολύ για τον χρόνο σας. Αναμένω το mail σας 🙂

  3. I wanted to comment on the Graviera and Ladotyri cheese types, there is a huge variety of excellent Greek Graviera and Ladotyri but foreigners find it hard to distinguish just by reading cheese names.

    For example the I’ve tried Ladotyri from Milos and has a completely different taste than Ladotyri from Lesvos. Same with Graviera. Graviera from Naxos has a distinct taste completely different than Graviera from Crete. Topology where cheese is produced plays a major role along with ripening time and of course the way animals are treated.

    So in essence there are at least hundreds of different cheeses available in Greece and very few are known abroad.

  4. I totally agree with you! Cheese is greatly influenced by climate, soil, cheesemaking technology and ripening time.
    And yes… despite the great variety of Greek cheeses, very few of them are known abroad.

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