translates to "oil cheese" and is one of the most well-known and loved of Greece's nearly one hundred regional cheeses. It is a certified Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O) product made exclusively on the island of Lesvos and has been produced since ancient times. The cheese is first salted and air-dried for 2-3 months, during which time the cheese loses about 40 percent of its moisture content, before it is submerged in olive oil where it continues to mature. Traditionally, olive oil was used as a way to store and protect cheese before the age of refrigeration, but the practice took root, continuing today to create what is considered one of the finest regional cheeses in Greece.
Milk: Sheep Age: At least 3 months, but can be aged up to a year
Look: Oily, yellow and white, small barrell-shaped wheels with an uneven texture from the reed molds it is formed in
Feel: Hard, oily, slightly dry
Smell: Intense aromas
Taste: Rich, pungent, spicy, with more sharpness and peppery flavors the longer it has been submerged in the olive oil
Pairs well with: For a white wine, try an Assyrtiko or a retsina. For reds, try a mature Xinomavro or a light Limnio
Tastes good with: Traditionally served as a table cheese. Serve with olives and nuts and some crusty bread. Also very good grated over pasta.