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Feta (φέτα)

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Feta Cheese

Feta (φέτα) is a brined curd cheese traditionally made in Greece. Since 2002, feta has been a protected designation of origin product. According to the relevant EU legislation, only those cheeses produced in a traditional way in some areas of Greece (mainland and the island of Lesbos), and made from sheep's milk, or from a mixture of sheep's and goats’ milk (up to 30%) of the same area, may bear the name "feta".

Feta is a white cheese with small holes, a compact touch, few cuts, and no skin. Being soft or sometimes semi-hard, feta is usually formed into square cakes. Its flavor is tangy and salty, ranging from mild to sharp. Its maximum moisture is 56%, its minimum fat content in dry matter is 43%, and its pH usually ranges from 4.4 to 4.6.

Feta is an aged crumbly cheese, commonly produced in blocks, and has a slightly grainy texture. It is used as a table cheese, as well as in salads (e.g. the Greek salad), pastries and in baking, notably in the popular phyllo-based dishes spanakopita ("spinach pie") and tyropita ("cheese pie") and combined with olive oil and vegetables. It can also be served cooked or grilled, as part of a sandwich or as a salty alternative to other cheeses in a variety of dishes.

Feta cheese is first recorded in the Byzantine Empire under the name πρόσφατος (prósphatos, "recent", i.e. fresh), and was associated specifically with Crete. An Italian visitor to Candia in 1494 describes its storage in brine clearly.

The Greek word "feta" comes from the Italian word fetta ("slice"). It was introduced into the Greek language in the 17th century. Opinions vary whether it refers to the method of cutting the cheese in slices to serve on a plate or because of the practice of slicing it to place in barrels.

Traditionally, feta has been made by peasants in the lower Balkan peninsula from sheep's milk, although goat's milk has been used in more recent times.

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References

Feta, en.wikipedia.org

Feta, cheese.com

Feta - Greek Cheese, greekfood.about.com

feta, foodterms.com