Discovering FETA PDO in Thessaloniki

Did you know that the average Greek person eats 10 kg of feta cheese every year? Or so it is reported. Feta is the most traditional cheese in Greece and it is their pride and joy.

I was invited to Greece’s 2nd largest city Thessaloniki to discover all about Feta cheese production and eat plenty of course.

With a history dating back to over 2000 years, Feta cheese is actually protected within the EU to keep its originality and has been granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) which means it can only be produced strictly in certain areas of Greece following very specific guide lines. Otherwise it’s not allowed to be labeled Feta cheese.

Here are a few facts that are worth noting about PDO Feta:
– PDO Feta is made out of fresh or pasteurized sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep and up to 30% goat’s milk.
– The milk used to prepare feta is collected seasonally and must have a fat content of at least 6%.
– It is forbidden to use antibiotics, preservatives, additives and food colours at all stages of its production.

We discovered a few factories in villages outside of Thessaloniki including Arvanitis and Tempi cheese factories. We got to go behind the scenes and see the process from milk curding, straining and salting. Once the cheese has been produced it is placed in wooden barrels or special metallic tins with brine and is left to soak for up to 15 days. It’s then left in a refrigerator to ripen. The total maturing process is a minimum of 2 months. As with any cheese, it’s during the maturing process where the distinct flavour of the Feta really comes out.

Next time you’re in the supermarket, make sure you check for the PDO labels! There may be different variations of Feta mixed with other flavours and ingredients but the pure one should have the below labels.

Feta is the symbol for Mediterranean diet. It’s safe to say I ate enough feta this trip to last me a year. I really enjoyed tasting how they incorporate feta into their cuisine as well. I love the salty and slightly acidic taste.

My favorite Greek dishes I got to try were the Greek Salad, fried Feta (insanely delicious!), Feta stuffed red Peppers and last but not least a Greek pastry with Feta called Bougatsa.

Make sure you check out the FETA PDO website for delicious recipes.

I was invited on this trip by ELGO – DEMETER, thank you for the informative trip! All opinions remain my own.

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1 Comment

  1. sahar
    July 18, 2019 / 6:45 pm


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