If you’ve been on social media these past months, you must have stumbled upon countless iterations of a viral dish: baked feta & cherry tomato pasta. Our sales of feta in March nearly tripled, a sure sign that the Greek cheese, while 2,000 years-old, is as popular as ever.
True D.O.P. Feta is made in Greece using a blend of milks from free-grazing sheep and goats. Each step of its production must adhere to strict standards. Follow us as we embark on a trip to learn more about the Feta produced by our good friends at Kolios.
The distinctive flavor and aroma of feta starts at the ground level. The key to feta lies in the incredible biodiversity of the Greek countryside. Sheep and goats get to gorge on a myriad of herbs, grasses, and wildflowers exclusive to Greece. The milks must arrive at the cheese-making facility less than 48 hours after the milking. The ratio of goat to sheep’s milk varies according to producers, but citrusy goat milk can represent no more than 30% of the blend.
Once at the facility, the milks are blended, pasteurized, and transferred to stainless steel tanks. Rennet and other natural coagulants are added, and the milk slowly coagulates. The soft mass is cut into smaller curds, and carefully transferred into molds where the whey will naturally drain off.
Expert cheesemakers then shower the top of the forms with sea salt. Once sufficiently solid, the molds are flipped over and left to rest.
The blocks of feta are then stored in wooden barrels or stainless-steel thanks filled with brine and left to age for a minimum of two months. During this curing time, feta will develop its characteristic tangy, citrusy flavor while retaining its softer, creamy-crumbly texture.
The feta is then sliced (feta means “Slice” in Greek!), packaged … and shipped all over the world.
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If you or your customers find Feta too salty, simply run the block of cheese under water before using to rinse away some of its salty brine. This month, we are featuring our favorite Greek items in our monthly promotion. To help you sell through our beautiful Fetas, here are some recipe ideas for your prepared foods section … or inspiration for your shoppers!
- Spring Feta Salad– Light and tasty Greek addition to your salad bar- Oven roast Feta and cherry tomatoes mixed with quinoa, roasted garlic, lemon zest, mint, oregano, and your favorite Greek EVOO. Mix and let sit for 3-4 hours. Put in display case and save yourself some as a reward.
- Cucumber Feta Salad– Delicious option everyone can take a liking- Slices of cucumber, crumbles of Feta, Greek EVOO, fried rosemary, sliced red onion, and lemon zest. Mix and let sit for 3 hours. Portion out (Pro tip: grill the Cucumber to add another level of flavor).
- Spinach and Feta Pie– Perfectly fitting flaky dish for any grab-n-go station- Mix cooked and drained Spinach, parsley, yellow onion, garlic, Greek EVOO, eggs, Feta, and black pepper. Layer Filo sheets with favorite Greek oil to desired thickness and spread filling mixture. Layer your baking dish until all is used. Bake and portion out.
- Grilled Green Beans, Feta and Olive Salad– Delightful charred salad that will kick off Summer in the minds of your shoppers. Mix in a bowl grilled green beans, grilled Greek olives of choice (preferred pitted Kalamata), crumbled Feta, Greek EVOO, Dijon mustard, honey, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and zest, oregano, and parsley. Portion out with slice of lemon for garnish.
- Spicy Red Pepper Feta Dip (Htipiti) – zesty dip that can spice up your grab-n-go offerings in a jiffy- In your food processor bowl whip together Feta, Roasted red peppers, Greek EVOO, lemon juice, Cayenne pepper and hot honey. Portion out to desired size with pita wedges and garnish with smoked paprika, and ground allspice.
- Roasted Chickpea, Feta, and Orzo Salad– This simple yet sophisticated salad will have your guest coming back for second and thirds- Roast Chickpeas with smoked paprika, Greek EVOO, salt, pepper, ground allspice, rosemary, and honey. Mix with cubed Feta, Orzo al dente, sliced red onion, Greek EVOO, and parsley. Portion out to desired size and garnish with paprika.