Dairy products in Greece have been a millenia-long success story, evinced by its ancient literature and corroborated by many archeological finds. As recorded in Greek mythology, Aristaios, the son of Apollo, taught humans the art of cheese-making. Thus, cheese was considered an offering fit for the gods. Even Homer, the legendary author of the epics Iliad and Odyssey, recounts Ulysses’ encounter with Polyphemus, when the hero walks in on the Cyclop in his cave, where he kept his treasured cheeses, the descriptions of which sound remarkably similar to some of the local cheeses still made in Greek islands today. Greeks are mainly cheese lovers.
Ever since neolithic times cheese has been a staple of Greek diet. Archeological excavations have revealed the importance of cheese for ancient Greeks, especially in the island of Crete. At the Minoan Palace of Knossos, stone tablets depict men making cheese from both goat’s and sheep’s milk.
For thousands of years, cheese is not only a souce of nutrition but also a luxury item in Greek gastronomy. Greeks prepare all sorts of sweet cheese pastries, most of which, remarkably, date back to ancient times. Cheese has always been a basic ingredient in some of the wedding sweets, mainly in Greek islands cheese lovers.
What makes it great
The single most distinguishing characteristic of Greek cheese is that most of it is made with sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, or a combination of the two. Cow’s milk cheeses can also be found but only in a handful of places. The prevailing reason is that the mountainous Greek landscape is generally not suitable for cattle grazing. There are approximately 70 distinct cheeses produced in Greece today, although many are similar and fall into one of several broad categories.
EU was just the beginning
Even though cheese-making is a long-standing tradition, it is only in the last few decades that Greek products made a name for themselves and found their way into international markets. Part of this effort is “Eurofood Quality”, which is involved both with the represantantion and trading of food products, as well as the production of cheese under the brandname “VERGINis”. It was established in 1981, the year Greece was admitted in the European Community.
Ever since, the company has grown exponentially, providing both domestic and international markets with products of exceptional quality and taste. Eurofood Quality S.A. exports PDO Greek products to the UAE, the USA, Australia, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. It has already won 12 domestic and international certifications, 2 Halal Certificates and 4 international awards.
Its cheese plants in Kastoria and Crete produce traditional greek cheese products made by 100% fresh pasteurized sheep’s and goat’s milk. Moreover, the expertise of each factory depends on the flora of each area.