Which cheese to savour in Macedonia

cheese-of-macedonia-feta

For the Greeks, cheese making is an activity dating back millennia. Cheese in Greece is served with almost every meal, and the country is home to hundreds of delicious cheeses, with almost every region and island producing a variety of different flavours. Cheese in Macedonia is a culinary delight that reflects the rich heritage of this Balkan country. From creamy feta to artisanal sheep’s milk cheeses, the flavors of cheese in Macedonia are a testament to its diverse culinary traditions. Discover the unique tastes and textures of Macedonian cheese, a true gastronomic gem waiting to be savored.

Follow us to discover the ‘treasure trove’ of cheeses produced in Macedonia. 

Feta
Our national pride and joy, the cheese delight of every Greek. Feta is made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk, provided that this contains only a maximum total weight of 30% goat’s milk. Feta is ready to be consumed after it has matured for 2 months in wooden barrels or metal tins, though the more it matures, the better its taste. Soft, white brined cheese with a buttery, slightly sour taste. The aroma, indistinct at low temperatures, starts to become apparent when the cheese warms up giving off an acidy, lemony fragrance. (PDO*)

Kasseri
This yellow, medium-hard cheese with a soft, sweetish taste, is imbued with the aroma of sheep’s milk (or mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk) from which it is made. The traditional savoury kasseri of our childhood has a full taste and an aroma redolent of almond. (PDO)

Kefalograviera
The spicy graviera needs sheep’s (or goat’s) milk and at least 3 to 6 months maturation. It is yellow in colour and full of tiny holes across its surface. It has a subtle fruity aroma, and yet its taste is salty and spicy with a kick of nuts. (PDO) 

Manouri
Among most popular Greek cheeses, principally because of its heavenly rich, soft briny taste. Ultra-fresh and ultra-white cheese, matured for only a few days after being made. Its richness in fats (36%) guarantees through its sticky texture and subtle saltiness an opulent, buttery, briny taste. If you leave it to mature and dry a little, it’s perfect grated over pasta. (PDO)  

Anevato
Soft and salty, light and spicy, velvety anevato is an innocent caress on the palette. (PDO)  

Batzos
A white cheese in brine from Macedonia and Thessaly. It has a spicy, salty taste and is recommended to be used in frying. (PDO)

Anthotyros
Savoury white cheese made of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It is ready to be consumed fresh after just a few weeks of maturation following production. Its aroma fully justifies the name, since the ‘bloom of cheeses’ conveys strong fragrances of freshness and a hint of the spring flowers on which the animals feed. 

*PDO: Protected Designation of Origin

 

Wine and cheese: the adagio of harmony 

When we taste wine with cheese, our aim is to complement the characteristics of the wine with those of the cheese. We need to avoid the possibility of either of them overpowering the other. The aim is for both together to give a taste result that is more complex, more complicated, more interesting than if one tasted each separately. 

To create a guide to tasting combinations, we always take it for granted that the cheeses mentioned are typical of the species and the wines typical of the variety. 

Also, we are always talking about cheeses that will not be part of the main meal, as is customary in the traditional Greek table, but will have an independent place in it.

It goes without saying that a plateau of cheeses with a variety of types cannot be successfully combined with a single type of wine, just as the cheeses of a region are often harmoniously combined with its wines. Just as the harmony of local dishes with wine works.

A lover of both, I have been very concerned about their taste combination, which is neither given nor does it follow rules blindly. 

Read on for my suggestions for combinations of cheeses and wines produced in Macedonia. 

And don’t forget: As in all taste harmonies, it is important to experiment, taste and form your own personal opinion. 

Have fun!

Feta + retsina
Further suggestions: If you’re looking for something a bit different, try a white wine from Assyrtiko or Roditis.

Kasseri + Malagousia, fresh Chardonnay

Graviera + Xinomavro, Limnio, Cabernet-Merlot blend

Manouri + Malagousia

Batzos + Xinomavro

Anthotyros + Muscat

by Maria Netsika

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