Greek Feta Cheese
Feta cheese originates from Greece and its history goes a way back into the ancient times. There is evidence that this delicious cheese was consumed by Aristoteles and Pythagoras. It is even mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey writtrn in 8th B.C., where a giant Cyclope Polyfimos prepares feta cheese!
“We entered the cave, but he wasn’t there, only his plump sheep grazed in the meadow. The woven baskets were full of cheese, the folds were full of sheep and goats and all his pots, tubs and churns where he drew the milk, were full of whey. When half of the snow-white milk curdled he collected it put it in the woven baskets and kept the other half in a tub to drink. Why my good ram are you the last to leave the fold? You have never been left behind by the flock before. You were always first walking ahead to graze the tender sheets of grass.”
Feta cheese iwas initially called ‘prosphatos’ (meaning fresh), and was most popular on Crete. In 1494 Pietro Casola, an Italian traveler visiting Crete described the production and storage of feta in brine - highly concentrated solution of water and salt. Brine preserves feta allowing to store it for longer. If the flavour is too salty it can be simply stored in plain water to reduce the saltiness of the cheese.
In 17th Century Greeks renamed the cheese into “feta” which refers to the way of slicing up cheese to be stored in containers. “Feta” literally means “slice”.
Nowadays feta is one of the main components of Mediterranean diet. It is used for baking in filo pastry as well as eaten fresh in salads. It is often combined with tomatoes or watermelon!