• CHEESE

Halloumi wars! Turks and Greeks of Cyprus are united against the UK when it comes to cheese

Who does Halloumi belong to?

Cyrpus is on a drive to secure halloumi cheese’s designated status in the EU against the British government’s decision to support U.K. halloumi producers. London wants to cash in on the name halloumi that it would not be allowed to use if Cyprus producers are successful in getting protected status for their produce.

Euripides Evriviades, the Cypriot High Commissioner in London, said that Cypriots, Turkish and Greek, intend to fight “to the bitter end to secure our halloumi hellim, a truly Cyprus product.”

halloumi

Halloumi is a cheese made from sheep and goat milk. It can be grilled, even fried, without melting but it tastes delicious raw.

The product is now a symbol for Cyprus, bringing together both Greke and Turkish Cypriots on the island that has been divided since 1974 after a Turkish invasion. The two communities are adversaries, but they are united when it comes to Halloumi. A joint application was filed to the EU so that halloumi can enjoy the same “protected designation of origin” (PDO) status as champagne or Cornish pasties.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker could not help but hail the halloumi cooperation, viewing this as hope for the island’s reunification. He states that it is “highly symbolic” for both communities that they are willing to collaborate when it comes to the cheese.

Turks and Greeks in Cyprus join together for halloumi, the unifying cheese

Halloumi cheese from Cyprus on sale in a Turkish Food Centre in Dalston, London

British producers, however, state that they’ve been making their own halloumi for decades and the name should be considered generic. They claim that the cheese actually originated in the Middle East, but Cypriots reject this notion. Razan Alsous, the British “Yorkshire Halloumi” maker, said the cheese was created by a bedouin in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria before it spread to Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots believe such claims are sacrilege!