Cyprus’ national cheese gets EU protected status

Nicosia, March 28 (IANS) Cyprus’ “national cheese” halloumi has been recognized by the European Commission as a product of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) after an examination process that lasted more than 15 years, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Costas Kadis said.

Kadis told CyBC state radio on Saturday that a formal announcement is expected to be made on Monday by the European Commission, Xinhua news agency reported.

President Nicos Anastasiades hailed the decision, saying that it was the result of “a long and difficult effort, a difficult battle that was marked by political expediency”.

Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese made for centuries in Cypriot villages from either goat or sheep milk or a mixture of both.

In its modern form, a quantity of cow milk is added.

Its success lies in the fact that it not only can be eaten as is, but also can be fried or grilled without melting because of its high melting point, a property that makes it a popular meat substitute.

Its recognition as a PDO product means that the name of halloumi cannot be used for similar products prepared outside Cyprus.

It also means that halloumi has to be made using fixed ratios of goat or sheep milk and cow milk, in the way the product has been prepared in Cyprus for centuries.

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