Halloumi is a cheese from the island of Cyprus and is often called the grilling cheese. In 2006 Halloumi was allowed to be promoted in the United States, Europe and Canada through an agreement with the Cyprus Ministry of Commerce and Tourism. This agreement has opened the doors of export to these three markets and has made this interesting and unique cheese easier to find.
Hallumi is made from sheep milk in the old traditional way in both small villages and modern factories. The milk is pasteurized and then allowed cool before the rennet is added. When the curd has formed it is pressed into molds and cooked in the expelled whey water. The cheese is then dry salted, folded, seasoned with fresh mint and brined for 24 hours. The resulting cheeses are then vacuum packed and aged while being kept refrigerated below 7C /44.6F
Halloumi has an odd mouth feel that is almost rubbery and it squeaks when chewed. This may seem strange or unbelievable, but it is true. The cheese has an off white paste that has a semi firm texture, and a slightly salty milky flavor with a touch of mint. Another unique aspect of this cheese is that it does not melt when it is heated so it is great for grilling or skewered with meat and vegetables. This cheese is wonderful when it is grilled to a golden yellow on both sides and served with eggs or sauteed vegetables. It is also great grilled on top of crusty bread covered with bruschetta. The locals on Cyprus enjoy it served at room temperature with chilled watermelon during the summer. Even though it is semi firm Halloumi can be shredded and used in omelets and over salads.
Halloumi has become quite popular and can be found in most supermarkets and specialty food shops.Try to find the Shepherds of Cyprus brand if possible.