Cyprus is well-known around the World for the production of her world-famous Halloumi Cheese.
Halloumi is a versatile cheese made traditionally from goat-sheep milk, which can be baked, grilled, fried, or eaten as it is, and it goes well with both savoury and sweet dishes.
Furthermore, Cyprus is also known for another local cheese, Anari cheese, which is similar to the Greek Mizithra and the Italian Ricotta in taste and texture. Anari is a by-product of the production of Halloumi and can be either eaten fresh and soft (fresh Anari with honey and walnuts is a really popular dessert in Cyprus) or salted aged and dried, where it is used as a grated cheese on top of pasta, just like parmesan cheese.
However, there is a third local Cheese that is little known outside of Cyprus and even among Cypriots. In fact, there are a lot who do not even know the existence of this cheese.
Halitzi (Χαλίτζι -pronounced «haleechi»), is a cheese which is exclusively produced only in the Polis Chrysochous Region, which is the area that corresponds to the Northern area of Paphos District, in Western Cyprus, also known as «Tylliria Area.»
Halitzi is (like the rest of the traditional Cypriot cheeses) exclusively made from goat-sheep milk and specifically from the goats and sheep, which resign at the Polis Chrysochous Region, where they are grazing the local vegetation all year long.
Halitzi, taste-wise, is a bit like feta cheese but a little sourer in taste than regular feta. Texture-wise, halitzi is somewhere between feta and halloumi (closer to halloumi actually) and has tiny holes through it. This is where perhaps it gets its name since hallitzi means small pebbles in the Cypriot Dialect.
Halitzi can be perfectly paired with watermelon, melon, or any other fresh fruit and with a traditional white Xinisteri wine, another local specialty of Cyprus! Also, like halloumi, it can be grilled, baked, fried, or part of a healthy salad.
Actions by the local authorities of Tylliria but also from the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT), based in Limassol have been made for Hallitzi to be registered as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product, just like halloumi cheese. This designation will give much more fame and recognition to this local cheese and will provide a small but significant boost to the economy of the rural Tyliria Area.
Therefore, if you ever are in the area, grab the chance to try this unique cheese with the taste of Feta and the texture of Halloumi!