Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Classic Greek Myzithra Is Nice Sliced, Drizzled ; Cheese of the Week

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Classic Greek Myzithra Is Nice Sliced, Drizzled ; Cheese of the Week

Article excerpt

MYZITHRA CHEESE

Aroma *

Taste *

Price **

Myzithra is a classic Greek cheese, made from the milk of sheep, goats or a combination of the two.

Sources differ on how Myzithra is produced. Some report it is made like Ricotta, using only the whey left over from feta production. Others say it's a mixture of milk and whey. Some recipes call for the enzyme rennet as a coagulant, others for vinegar or another acid. Some recipes call for boiling the milk or whey, others do not.

The curds are hung in small cloth bags to drain and are usually sold in round balls or cone shapes formed by the bag.

Because of these differences in production technique, Myzithra does not have a controlled origin; still, it's easy to find real Greek Myzithra, probably because it's relatively inexpensive and cheaply produced knock-offs were never necessary.

Myzithra is made in three forms: fresh, which is light, fluffy and moist; soured, which is firm, tangy and saltier; and aged, which is very salty, hard and strong tasting.

The brands available locally are simply labeled "Myzithra," but they seem to be of the second variety: mild in taste but slightly tangy, firm enough to grate but soft enough to slice or crumble easily; and fairly salty.

If you've ever enjoyed

Italian Ricotta Salata, Myzithra is very similar but less sheepy- tasting, and it can be used in the same ways: sliced and drizzled with honey, served with fruit or especially grated over pasta dishes with Greek or southern Italian flavors such as olives, hot peppers, sun dried tomatoes, capers, eggplant or citrus. It is dry enough that it's not ideal for serving alone with bread or crackers.

MYZITHRA AND PASTA

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

1 pound spaghetti cup Greek oil extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced pound myzithra cheese, grated-Abundant cracked black pepper Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

1 Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt, and cook pasta according to package directions, until cooked but not soggy. …

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