Discover the heritage of our beloved Halloumi cheese
At Yorkshire Dama, cheese is our passion. Our squeaky cheese range is multi award winning and our pride and joy. We want to educate our squeaky cheese lovers on the history of Halloumi and the rich heritage it holds.
What is Halloumi cheese?
Let’s go back to the basics. Halloumi cheese is an unripened, brined cheese made from either sheep, goat or cow's milk. Rennet, (a complex set of enzymes), is used to produce Halloumi as it curdles the milk during production, no acid-producing bacteria is used in its preparation. It has a high melting point, therefore is best served grilled or fried and is a popular, great and tasty meat substitute!
The history behind Halloumi cheese
The earliest recipe for Halloumi is found in an Egyptain cookbook from the 14th century, whilst the earliest descriptions of Cypriot Halloumi date back to the 16th century and were said to be recorded by Italian visitors in Cyprus. The technique of making cheese that resists melting has evolved over time, particularly in the Mediterranian. However, the delicious Halloumi that is popular today originated in Cyprus and the love for the cheese grew to reach Lebanon.
Cypriot farmers relied on Halloumi cheese as a source of protein. Many villages would join forces to make huge batches, the recipes varied from village to village, each community taking huge pride in the techniques and ingredients they used. The Halloumi cheese became so loved by the villagers that the surnames of the Cypriot families reflected their role in the process of making the batches, surnames such as Halluma and Hallumakis were both very popular in the 19th century.
Halloumi cheese was traditionally made from sheep and goat's milk, as there were very few cows on the island it originated from, until the recipe was brought to the United Kingdom where it was produced with the cheaper and more plentiful cow's milk.
The US has given the Cypriot Halloumi its protected name since 1992, however the EU has taken longer to register the name Halloumi due to the disagreements between the Cypriot farmers on which milk is the most traditional in the Halloumi making process.
The health benefits to Halloumi cheese
Halloumi cheese is very nutritious and contains many healthy components, it provides 70% calcium of the adult daily recommended allowance in one portion. Halloumi also contains zinc, selenium, magnesium, vitamin A and many of the B vitamins. Halloumi is a great source of protein and becomes a great meat substitute for vegetarians by injecting the protein needed in their diet.
Our traditional squeaky cheese is made with Yorkshire cow’s milk but with the same classic Halloumi taste and is popular amongst our customers in the UK. We also offer many delicious flavour variations of our squeaky cheese, from oat smoked to chilli or rosemary. Recently, we have launched a new line of squeaky cheeses made with local sheep and goat’s milk to reflect the traditional method of producing Halloumi and to remember the heritage perfected by the Cypriot villagers over many years by generations of families.
We like our squeaky cheese best grilled, fried, cooked on the BBQ, grated on top of pasta or raw with tomatoes. How do you like yours?