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Challoumi

 “Halloumi” constitutes the most delicious type of traditional cheese, while the production of “Halloumi” has been known ever since the ancient years. In particular, “halloumi” is mentioned in a manuscript by Doge Leonardo Dona of Calumi, which is dated back to 1556. The script presents the production procedure of both fresh and mature “halloumi”, as well as its gastronomic particularities.    

The milk is heated on fire and after adding a coagulant powder which is extracted from lamb, it is then left to cool. Soon after the milk is solidified and cut into pieces, which are then placed into a small basket called “talarin”. Next, the cut pieces are pressed to dry and the liquid which comes out after the cheese is pressed is the so called “noros”. The “noros” is boiled again while more milk is added to it, usually at a proportion of 1 to 10, before becoming solid again to form another type of white cheese called “anari”, also known as whey cheese. The “anari” is a type of cheese which can be either salted or be left salt free before being left to dry and stored. The whey cheese is also stored in the “talarin”, where it is also pressed so that any liquid will be extracted from it. While drying the “anari”, an amount of “noros” is once again available and is used to cover the “halloumi” cheese so that it can be stored and preserved. 

In the meantime, as soon as the “halloumi” pieces are dry and after completing the procedure with the “talarin”, these are sank into the “noros”, which is extracted during pressing the “anari”, and are heated on low fire for about one hour. What is distinctive is that once the “halloumi” is cooked, the cut pieces come to the surface of the “noros” in which they are being boiled. Next, every “halloumi” cheese piece is salted and finely cut mint is added to it. Then, each piece is folded in two and stored in a glass container. Once the container is full of “halloumi” cheese, it is filled with “noros” and sealed. The “halloumi”, just like the “anari” and contrary to other types of cheese, has a white colour.

There are multiple ways to enjoy “halloumi”, including the following:

1. The “halloumi” can be cooked in hot oven or on coal until it acquires a light yellowish colour and its inner part becomes soft. This is the most popular way of serving “halloumi”.     

2. The “halloumi” can be slightly fried in oil or butter as dessert. It is also very popular when cut in slices and fried along with bacon and eggs or in an omelette.    

3 . You can enjoy fresh “halloumi” cheese cut in slices in sandwiches, as a snack and accompanied by tomato and cucumber during breakfast or during an afternoon meal. 

4. It is also refreshing served along with slices of melon and watermelon, grapes and figs. 

5. It is used for the filling of ravioli and other sweet and savoury delicacies (pizza or “halloumi” pies) and it has a wonderful taste served grated on top of pasta or cut into small cubes and added to frumenty soup.

The “halloumi” is the only type of cheese in the world which can be used in so many ways.

Glossary:

“Talarin” = a type of small basket which used to be made using elements of water plants but which is now made of plastic for sanitation reasons.

“Pidkia” = a coagulant powder which helps the milk to become solid and be turned into cheese (this coagulant used to come from the stomach of a small lamb or pig which was butchered while still on breast milk and before feeding on grass).

“Noros” = it is the liquid left in the boiler after collecting the solidified milk.  

 

 
 
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