Halloumi is officially recognized worldwide as a distinctive cheese indigenous to Cyprus. It is a white semi-hard cheese with a distinctive layered texture, made from sheep and/or goat’s milk, which can also be blended with cow’s milk.
Halloumi is the only semi-hard cheese that does not melt in high temperatures while cooking. Its structure softens, but retains its shape by turning an appetising golden-brown colour. This is ideal for grilling and frying. Fresh halloumi can also be consumed raw.
The flavour of authentic cypriot Halloumi is the result of a combination of factors such as the warm climate and the fodder that the island produces for Cyprus-bred sheep and goats. The uniqueness of this product is an important factor in its success both at home and abroad.
Originally, Halloumi was soaked and preserved in brine, a process which gave the cheese its salty taste and enabled it to be kept fresh for longer. It is often garnished with mint to add to the taste. Traditionally the mint leaves were used as a preservative, to retain Halloumi’s freshness and flavour.
Halloumi is not simply a product that originates from Cyprus but constitutes part of its cultural heritage and its traditional rural life. It is linked to the social solidarity that characterizes, even today, the towns and villages of the island. One of the most traditional Cypriot products, Halloumi is the delicious link connecting the culinary tradition and the culture of the island.