Halloumi has always been the flagship of Cyprus’ authentic cuisine. Historical reports dating back to the period of Venetian domination of 1554, confirm that Halloumi was produced all over Cyprus. For centuries therefore, this product is a key constituent of the local diet, closely associated with the culture and traditions of its people and linked to the social solidarity that characterizes the villages of Cyprus.
Halloumi is an unripe, semi hard white cheese with a versatile character in the kitchen. It can be consumed in its natural form but when cooked, fried or grilled, it acquires a better and fuller taste. Upon cooking, halloumi keeps its shape but the outward appearance turns into a crispy golden brown color taking on the grill marks while inwards it softens significantly but does not melt. This versatile characteristic makes halloumi a unique cheese, claiming rightly the title of the “cheese that grills”.
Another distinctive characteristic of halloumi is the bell shape appearance resulting from the process of hand folding which takes place while the cheese is still warm.
Halloumi is ready for consumption soon after it has been produced, retailed usually in vacuum packed individual pieces. Halloumi may also be left to mature into a hard texture if kept in brine for 40 days. In the old days when the refrigerator was non-existent, halloumi could well store for up to a year in earth ware pots filled with natural whey.