feta

Pronunciation: [FEHT-uh]

One of the world's oldest cheeses, feta has been made in Greece and other Balkan countries for centuries. Today feta-style cheeses are made by numerous producers in countries around the world including Denmark, France, Germany, Israel and the United States. In October 2005, the European Union granted Greece protected designation of origin (PDO) status for its Feta, which meant that other European countries (which produce tons of feta-style cheese), had to rename their cheeses. Undoubtedly the European Union also will press the United States to discontinue using the name Feta. PDO-approved Feta must be produced by traditional methods, only in designated areas in Greece and primarily from sheep's milk, though up to 30 percent goat's milk may be added. Though traditionally made of sheep's or goat's milk, today large commercial producers often use cow's milk. Because it's cured and stored in brine, feta is often referred to as pickled cheese. White, crumbly and rindless, feta is usually pressed into square cakes. It has a rich, tangy flavor, contains from 45 to 60 percent milk fat and can range in texture from semisoft to semihard.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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