The Most Popular Greek Cheeses You Should Try

Discover the fascinating world of Greek cheeses
Discover the fascinating world of Greek cheeses | © Markos Dolopikos / Alamy Stock Photo
Ethel Dilouambaka

Few people can say no to cheese. This creamy delight often prompts foodies from around the world to travel in search of their next cheese-filled adventure. If you’re one of them, you’ll be glad to know that Greece has an ancient cheese-making tradition – with so many different kinds of cheese that go way beyond the classic feta. Read on to discover the most delicious Greek cheese types you should try on your next trip to Greece.

Feta

Without a doubt the most famous Greek cheese, feta has been around for ages. Made with sheep – or a mixture of sheep and goat’s – milk, feta cheese is aged for several weeks before being stored in barrels of brine for at least two months and then sent to supermarkets and stores to be cut and sold. Drying pretty quickly, even when refrigerated, it needs to be stored in brine or in a salty milk solution to ensure proper hydration. A perfect addition to practically anything but fish – from salads and chips to roast chicken or stew – feta is served in every restaurant in Greece. Its fried, juicier version, Saganaki, is a delightful alternative usually served in taverns.

Taste the most famous cheese of Greece

Graviera

Visit a farmer’s market for fresh graviera cheese

Metsovone

Originated from Metsovo, a picturesque mountain village in Northern Greece, metsovone is a semi-hard smoked cheese not well-known outside of Greece. Made from cow’s milk or a blend of cow and sheep or goat milk, metsovone is produced using the pasta filata technique – just like the Italian provolone. A European Protected Designation of Origin since 1996, metsovone is an excellent table cheese but it is also a fine Greek cheese for grilling. If you visit Metsovo, make sure to try grilled slices of metsovone with some cayenne pepper sprinkled on top.

Give the Greek smoked cheese known as Metsovone a try

Kasseri

If you’re looking for a mouthwatering cheese to make the most heavenly Greek cheese pie, then kasseri it is. Also part of the family of pasta filata cheese, kasseri is a semi-hard, pale-yellow cheese made from sheep’s milk, with a soft, stringy texture; this is achieved by using unpasteurised milk and allowing for the cheese to age for four months. Apart from its delicious role as cheese pie filling, kasseri is a common table cheese and can be enjoyed in sandwiches and pastries or as Saganaki.

Grab a slice of freshly baked Greek Kaseropita

Mizithra

Another lesser-known Greek cheese, mizithra (pronounced mi-zee-thra) is made from pasteurised sheep’s or goat’s milk, or a mixture of both and whey – and it’s creamy and white. At this stage, it is often served as dessert with honey or in salads and pastries. However, mizithra can be salt-dried, turning into a saltier cheese that can then be aged, usually hung in cloth bags. The longer it ages, the drier and harder it gets. When aged, mizithra is perfect for grating over hot pasta.

Enjoy a bowl of this traditional pasta found in Peloponnese

Anthotiro

Very similar to mizithra, anthotiro (translating as flower cheese), made with milk and whey from sheep or goats, can be fresh or dried. Produced in a number of areas and regions across the country, anthotiro has been around for centuries. When fresh, it is soft or semi-hard and has a sweet, creamy taste, with no rind and no salt. It can be eaten for breakfast with honey and fruit, or as a savoury dish with oil, tomato and wild herbs, or even in pastries. The dry variation is usually hard, dry and salty and is often enjoyed as a topping on pasta or in salads.

Go gourmet with this delicious Greek anthotiro salad

Galotiri

Produced in Thessaly and Epirus, galotiri is made from feta, milk and yoghurt. Because it doesn’t travel well, it is hardly known outside of Greece, but this cheese is milky and soft and can be used for dipping, or spread on a slice of bread or a cracker. Low in fat and calories, galotiri is a great alternative to cottage cheese – perfect for late-night, open-air movie screenings when you’re craving a light snack.

Visit a street market for a traditional Greek cheese pie

Kefalotyri

A traditional, hard Greek cheese, kefalotyri can be compared to gruyere, though it is resolutely saltier and harder. Made from unpasteurised goat’s or sheep’s milk (or sometimes both), it has a sharp, salty taste. It’s usually the go-to Greek cheese for frying, making for an excellent Saganaki. It can be added on top of hot pasta, to stews or blended in sauces. It’s also a fine addition to a cheese board, pairing perfectly with seasonal fruits and red wine.

Be sure to taste fresh Saganaki on your visit to Greece

Kefalograviera

The middle ground between kefalotyri and graviera, kefalograviera is made of ewe’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk, and is usually left to mature for three months before consumption. It has a salty taste and rich aroma and boasts a PDO status, limiting its production to Western Macedonia, Epirus and the regional units of Aetolia-Acarnania and Evrytania. This hard cheese holds well when fried and is therefore perfect for Saganaki or sprinkled on top of pasta.

Buy a whole wheel of Kefalograviera cheese to get the full experience

Manouri

Manouri is a fresh, semi-soft cheese that tastes amazing in salads and pastries, or as part of a cheese-based dessert – you can use it as a substitute for cream cheese when making a cheesecake or as a low-fat alternative to Greek yoghurt for breakfast. Made by adding milk and/or cream to the whey of sheep’s or goat’s milk, manouri is creamier and less salty than feta. It is mostly produced in central and northern Greece, though you can easily find it in Athens, too.

Pay a visit to a traditional cheese maker in the Fokida region

Travelling to Greece? Now that we’ve covered all of the cheese delights you’ll savour, let’s get your accommodation sorted. Browse through our picks of the best holiday villas and vacation rentals, the most beautiful hotels in Greece, or the boutique hotels that best match your budget, and book your dream place to stay in Greece.

Additional reporting on this article was provided by Konstantina Pyrnokoki.

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