Now, on my fourth trip to Greece, and Athens, I should tell you something about feta. You may be surprised by some of this information, as I was. The ubiquitous Greek salad always contains feta, either crumbled, in chunks, or in a large block. Needless to say, I almost always order a Greek salad at dinner, or maybe have the Greek salad for lunch by itself.
From Culinary Backstreets:
Feta must be one of the world’s oldest cheeses, it’s certainly one of the most famous, and it’s practically never missing from a Greek table, no matter the time of day. A person might grab a chunk of this chalk-white substance for breakfast, crunch through layers of feta-stuffed phyllo for elevenses, put a slab of it on her village salad for lunch, have it for supper along with a vegetable casserole and then pair it with watermelon for a scrumptious dessert. The only other food that a Greek may be even more addicted to is bread.
If you were to guess which nation boasted the most cheese eaters on the planet, surely you would say France, home to so many delectable and sophisticated fromages. Not so fast! Ilias Mamalakis, in his lively and informative dissertation on Greek Cheese, published in 1999, claimed that Greeks gobbled up 23 kilos per person, whereas the French ate a whole kilo less. More recent (Greek-sourced) data raises that figure to 25 kilos, almost a pound a week.
Feta is a curd cheese made with ewe’s milk, sometimes mixed with up to 30 percent goat’s milk, never cow’s. Although this was the standard recipe for millennia in Greece, sheep and goats being better adapted to the country’s rugged landscape, production guidelines and definitions were established by Greece in 1988 and by the EU in 1996. In 2002 the EU finally recognized Greece as the only member state entitled to call its white brined cheese feta. The Danish imitation made with cow’s milk had to change its name. (You can google how to make feta yourself)
So if you happen to be in Athens, do treat yourself to a tasting session at Kostarelos, which has a large selection of cheeses from all over the country in addition to their own, as well as other products from small producers, from herbal teas to smoked meats, homemade pastas to jams, sauces and sweets. It is also an attractive place to grab a bite and a glass of wine. The menu – like a small catalog – was devised by a well-known chef, Chrysanthos Karamolegos, and has dozens of selections of tempting salads, dips, hot and cold sandwiches and platters of cold cuts and cheeses, at extremely reasonable prices.
I don’t eat much feta at home, but I probably should. But the feta is best in Greece. Go to Greece instead! I am.
We really loved our there in Athens. You enjoyed this amazing Greek Food . I also make my Greek salad with Feta . Anita