Feta: The Table Cheese We Can’t Be Without

Whether crumbled, baked, or whipped, feta’s versatile flavor can complement a myriad of cuisines. Don’t limit yourself to pasta, you can use this Greek staple in appetizers, entrees, and even desserts.

History Of Feta

The production of this beloved Greek cheese dates all the way back to the 11th century, though cheese-making in the region goes back even further. It was originally called prósphatos, which translates to “fresh”, and was later changed to feta, from the Italian word fetta or “slice”.

Feta has long been a staple cheese in Greece but has rapidly become one of the most popular cheeses worldwide thanks to its complex yet versatile flavor.

Flavor of Feta

Image Credit: Fernando Villalobos from Pixabay

Feta is salty and rich with a tanginess reminiscent of fresh lemon juice. It has a crumbly and soft texture, not unlike a firm block of tofu. It’s typically stored in brine, sometimes flavored with herbs and spices. 

Feta Production

Like most cheeses, feta is made by separating and curing the curds of either raw or pasteurized milk. The curds are cut, salted, and marinated, then brined for a minimum of 2 months.

The milk used to make feta varies depending on where it was produced. Within the EU, feta can only be produced from sheep’s milk and an upper limit of 30% goat’s milk. Outside the area, however, feta can be made from either sheep or goat’s milk, with some varieties containing cow’s milk. 

How to Use Feta

Feta pairs well with practically any course – including dessert. Crumble feta on top of fresh salads or roasted vegetables, with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dash of finishing salt.

Feta also lends itself well to seafood, roast meat dishes, cheesy frittatas, and creamy soups. The cheese’s brininess and lemony undertone cut through the richness without overpowering the established flavor profile.

Baked feta carries all the same qualities as its fresher counterpart, but with a softer texture and Maillard-induced depth. Use it on its own or whip it with yogurt and garlic for a simple and deliciously savory dip

For dessert, pair your feta with juicy watermelon, grapefruit, or strawberries, then top with honey and a few sprigs of mint.

Feature Image: TheAndrasBarta from Pixabay

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