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Halloumi is undoubtedly classified among the most original dairy products of the European Union. Being fresh or mature, Halloumi constitutes the standard example of the unique and close relation between microclimate, tradition and ecosystem.

Halloumi is a traditional Cypriot cheese that has been made on the island of Cyprus for centuries. It has been a significant part of Cyprus’ authentic cuisine and its traditional rural life. 

Many families used to make their own home-made halloumi exploiting to the fullest the milk from their dairy herds. Further, its making constituted a social activity between village families and its processing know-how had been transferred from generation to generation. An essential part of the people’s diet in the past, halloumi is still today one of the most loved and consumed cheeses in Cyprus. It is a handmade product even in the most modern manufacturing facilities.

Halloumi is a semi hard white cheese with a salty flavor and a distinctive layered texture. Traditionally, the thicker sheep and goat milk was preferred for the production of most cheese products but in the last few decades cow’s milk is increasingly been also used due to cost control factors. Historically, sheep and goats were the only available sources of milk in Cyprus and this lasted until the second decade of the mid twentieth century when dairy cows were first imported by the British Colonial Government.  Non animal rennet, fresh or dried mint and salt are also part of the ingredients. Its distinguished characteristic is that it does not melt or spread in high temperatures unlike other cheeses. It has a unique taste and aroma and is highly versatile. 

Halloumi cheese has been around for many centuries and the name Halloumi is automatically connected to Cyprus. According to legends and available data Halloumi has been produced for hundreds of years in Cyprus both for domestic use and export. There are different possibilities regarding the derivation of its name. One purports that the name Halloumi has derived from the Arabic word “khllum” that means cheese. Another suggests that the name originated from the ancient Greek “Almi” word that means “salt”. The first references that link Halloumi with Cyprus date back to 1554 AD. Archimandrite Kyprianos (1788) mentions that Halloumi cheese was exported 144 years prior to 1788. In his book Geoponiko (1643), Monk Agapios describes the method of making Halloumi cheese.A few years ago Cyprus managed to obtain exclusive rights to the name Halloumi within the US and the EU registration process was completed as nominal origin product.

Today halloumi is a product of 3% salt, 25% fat and 46% moisture.

Halloumi can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It can be eaten fresh, grilled, barbequed or fried. It’s ideal for sandwiches, salads or as an ingredient in a variety of dishes. It can also be grated over pasta or used as a stuffing in ravioli (a popular Cyprus dish). 

In Cyprus, it is often served fresh with some sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and a handful of green or black olives. Especially during the summer, halloumi makes an excellent combination with watermelon or other fresh fruits. Eaten fresh or fried, barbequed or grilled it’s always delicious.