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Greek Cheeses: Essential on Every Table

A Gift from the Gods

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Greek Cheeses

Greek Cheeses

Photo Credit: Nicholas Pitt/Getty Images

According to Greek mythology, Aristaios, son of Apollo and Cyrene, was sent by the gods to give the gift of cheese-making to the Greeks. It was called a "gift of everlasting value," and if the reputation of today's variety of Greek cheeses is anything to go by, the value of that gift keeps increasing with age.

Whatever their origins, Greek cheeses are among the finest in the world, and many varieties have been accorded protection under the European Union's Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) provisions. This means that no other EU member nation can use the name, and that these cheeses must meet processing and location of origin standards.

Feta tops of the list of Greek cheeses. Exported all over the world (as are all Greek cheeses), it is highly regarded for its variations - semi-soft to semi-hard, mild to sharp - and for the many ways it can be used - in baked goods, casseroles, appetizers, mezethes, with fruit, and as a table cheese. Hard, salty cheeses like kefalotyri and graviera are enjoyed grated, fried, and served as mezethes and appetizers. Kasseri, one of the few yellowish Greek cheeses, is a favorite table cheese. Sweet cheeses like manouri and fresh myzithra are most often used to create some of the best desserts this side of Mount Olympus.

Below is a list of Greek cheeses, with the name in English letters and in Greek letters, and a pronunciation guide. (Note: the accented syllables are shown in capital letters.) Follow the links to more detailed information about these cheeses and how they are used, and visit the cheese photo gallery for closeup photographs.

Greek Cheeses

Name in English Name in Greek Pronunciation
Anevato Ανεβατό ah-neh-vah-TOH
Anthotyro Ανθότυρο ahn-THOH-tee-roh
Batzos Μπάτζος BAHD-zohss
Feta Φέτα FEHT-tah
Formaella Φορμαέλλα for-mah-EL-lah
Galotyri Γαλοτύρι ghah-loh-TEE-ree
Graviera Γραβιέρα ghrahv-YAIR-ah
Kalathaki Καλαθάκι kah-lah-THAH-kee
Kasseri Κασέρι kah-SEH-ree
Katiki Κατίκι kah-TEE-kee
Kefalograviera Κεφαλογραβιέρα keh-fah-loh-ghrav-YAIR-ah
Kefalotyri Κεφαλοτύρι keh-fah-lo-TEE-ree
Kopanisti Κοπανιστή koh-pah-nee-STEE
Ladotyri Λαδοτύρι lah-thoh-TEE-ree
Manouri Μανούρι mah-NOOR-ree
Metsovone Μετσοβόνε meht-so-VOH-neh
Myzithra Μυζήθρα mee-ZEETH-rah
Pihtogalo Πηχτόγαλο peekh-TOH-gah-lo
San Mihali Σαν Μιχάλη sahn meeh-HAH-lee
Sphela Σφέλα SFEH-lah
Touloumotyri Τουλουμοτύρι too-loo-moh-TEE-ree

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