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Say cheese! Cyprus’ halloumi will get EU protected standing

Cyprus is getting protected standing for its prized halloumi, giving its producers the only proper to promote the rubbery cheese within the European Union.

Later this month, the European Union is about to formally give halloumi, or “hellim” in Turkish, the protected designation of origin (PDO) standing, which is able to come into impact from October, based on Cyprus’ agriculture ministry.

The transfer reaffirms what the business and state have mentioned for years, mentioned cheesemaker George Petrou, common supervisor of Petrou Bros. Dairy Merchandise which has about 25% of Cyprus’ export market: that halloumi is Cypriot, with historic accounts suggesting manufacturing as early as round 1500.

“Sadly in recent times, many international locations tried to repeat us so the registration will assist very a lot, in that different international locations won’t produce halloumi or one thing related which misleads shoppers,” he mentioned.

As a baby, Petrou learnt the secrets and techniques of constructing halloumi from his late mom, Kakkoulou, who bought it at farmers’ markets. As she gently stirred the milk to separate the curds in an enormous “hartzin”, or cauldron, he would mill across the kitchen, observing her.

In 1982, Petrou began promoting halloumi below the Alambra model to complement his earnings as a first-division footballer, and he hasn’t regarded again.

From utilizing 250 litres of milk a day to make halloumi, Petrou’s firm, initially arrange with an elder brother, now processes 250 tonnes of milk per day, using 220 folks and exporting to 40 international locations.

Employees pack halloumi cheese on the Petrou Bros Dairy in Aradippou, Cyprus, April 2, 2021. (Photograph: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou)

Its enlargement mirrors that of Cyprus’ halloumi manufacturing.

Now the nation’s second-most precious export after prescription drugs, the business has grown between 20% and 22% yearly for the previous 5 years, based on official knowledge. The agriculture ministry says it has now set its sights on penetrating the China market.

There have been hurdles to beat in securing the prized PDO standing, together with disagreements on the ratios of goat, sheep and cows’ milk within the recipe.

Till 2024, the ratios will likely be set by decree, and after that a minimum of 50% will likely be made up of sheep and goats’ milk, with the remainder supplemented by cows’ milk.

Although recipes for halloumi abound on-line, for locals, enjoyment is within the versatile cheese’s easiest kind – tossed within the frying pan or on a barbecue, eaten uncooked with melon in the summertime, or cubed and thrown in to boil with trahana, a cracked wheat and yoghurt soup eaten in winter.

“A whole lot of vacationers come right here searching for it,” mentioned Evroulla Ioannou, who serves up grilled halloumi at her standard restaurant in Nicosia, Cyprus’s capital.

“Some … solely comprehend it by title so they arrive to strive it, and from what I see, they actually prefer it,” she mentioned.

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