Cyprus is getting protected standing for its prized halloumi, giving its producers the only real proper to promote the rubbery cheese within the European Union.
Later this month, the European Union is ready to formally give halloumi, or “hellim” in Turkish, the protected designation of origin (PDO) standing, which is able to come into impact from October, in line with Cyprus’ agriculture ministry.
The transfer reaffirms what the business and state have stated for years, stated cheesemaker George Petrou, normal 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 comparable which misleads shoppers,” he stated.
As a baby, Petrou learnt the secrets and techniques of constructing halloumi from his late mom, Kakkoulou, who offered it at farmers’ markets. As she gently stirred the milk to separate the curds in an unlimited “hartzin”, or cauldron, he would mill across the kitchen, observing her.
In 1982, Petrou began promoting halloumi beneath the Alambra model to complement his earnings as a first-division footballer, and he hasn’t appeared 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.
Its enlargement mirrors that of Cyprus’ halloumi manufacturing.
Now the nation’s second-most precious export after prescribed drugs, the business has grown between 20% and 22% yearly for the previous 5 years, in line with official information. 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 might be set by decree, and after that not less than 50% might 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 type – 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.
“Quite a lot of vacationers come right here on the lookout for it,” stated Evroulla Ioannou, who serves up grilled halloumi at her common 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 stated.