Are You Making These Mistakes When Selecting Feta Cheese?

Hi Urbangrainers,

After a short break due a few glitches, here and there, we are back on! And this time, we will be writing a long post about feta cheese, the cheese that is loved by millions (and currently can’t fidn to supermarkets)

Did you know, that the cheese we all love for our salad is mostly consumed by Greeks (since they invented it) but recent  statistics on cheese consumption shows that Greeks  consumes the most cheese in the world?

Yes, seems that the average Greek uses 23-30 kg of cheese,  a year! And at least half of that cheese consumed is feta. This is in align with the massive consumption of extra virgin olive oil, which is nearly 1 litre per week!

Whilst Greece produce a huge variety of cheeses with amazing tastes and textures (OMG, have you ever tried manouri (with quince, Urbangrains sells that too) and Kaseri or the Cretan-made Graviera? Your are missing out) it seems that Feta is the national cheese, as here in England we have Cheddar, or the French have the blue cheese. For Greeks, they use it everywhere will be on every table regardless of what is being served – with vegetables, meat, beans, bread, and olives. In the summer, they even combine feta with fruit, such as watermelon
and cantaloupe.

Feta cheese is a white salty cheese, produced from sheep’s milk, or a combination of sheep and goat’s milk. Nutritionally, it has fewer calories than some other cheeses not because it is lower in fat, but due to its higher water content. Best part for the diet consious? it has such an intense flavor and it is salty, you don’t need to use large amounts.

Here is what to look for when choosing feta:

#1 Read the ingredients carefully: Make sure it only contains sheep’s milk (and maybe some goat’s milk), rennet and salt. Nothing else should it be contained nor should it contain any cow’s milk. If you buy anything that is called Feta made with cow’s milk, then it isn’t feta, it is white cheese. This type of cheese  can crumble easily (bad!), may develop a sour taste its after taste is not at all pleasant… Also it is more likely to become mushy and have a bad smell after a while affecting your entire fridge…

 #2 Prefer Feta that is made in Greece: Feta is on the register of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) in the European Union. Only feta produced with traditional methods, in certain parts of Greece and with Greek milk can be labeled or sold as feta, no where else.

#3 Taste the flavor:  Are you in a supermarket or a deli which offers some feta tasting? Great – pick up a few pieces and taste it. Note that there are three different types of feta based on the texture:

  • hard
  • medium-hardness
  • soft

There are also differences in taste: some are saltier, some are spicy and some are mild. It all depends on what area and in what kind of container the feta is matured. Some are matured in large tins, other in barrels.

#4 Feta is always white: feta should have a nice super-white coloour, not yellow, like i.e. cheddar. If it is a bit yellow, that means that the cheese has been exposed to air outside of the brine, so do not buy it or throw it.

#5 Feta should have a tangy flavor and a rich aroma. It should not taste bitter, sour, rancid, chalky or tasteless.

#6 Feta must always have a few tiny holes on the surface. This is cause by stirring the cheese and make it breathe while maturing.

Any questions? Want to add something we missed? Shoot us a text below.

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