Traditionally Haloumi was made in Cypress from a mix of goat and sheep milk as the environment on Cypress wasn’t suited to cows. Now however it is more frequently made using cows milk. It’s unusual for cheese to be made with no acid production but Haloumi has no added bacteria, just rennet to set the milk into a curd.
Recorded history of Haloumi dates back to Medieval times, particularly the Byzantine Era, where it gained popularity throughout the Middle East. It was stored wrapped in mint leaves which imparted a delicious flavour and is now often sold with mint as a garnish.
Haloumi has a very high melting point because the fresh curd is heated to nearly 100C before being placed in brine. This makes it an ideal cheese for grilling or barbequing. The squeak on teeth is due to the firm texture when eaten.
Unlike other European cheeses, Haloumi is not registered as a PDO (protected designation of origin) because of conflict between dairy producers and sheep and goat farmers as to what milk it should be made from.
We find Haloumi made from fresh Australian cow’s milk absolutely delicious!