A story about Cyprus’ famous white cheese Halloumi was the top trending story on the BBC’s news website yesterday.
Such wide reaching publicity can only boost demand around the globe, earning increased revenue for Cyprus exports.
The BBC feature highlighted how the soft cheese has risen from a niche food in the UK to a staple of the British barbecue season.
Then there is an insight into how the squeaky cheese became so popular and a food store hit.
“To others it is a pleasantly rubbery addition to salads, while for vegetarians it’s that thing on barbecue skewers that they have to double-check isn’t chicken before tucking in,” said the BBC.
“This salty cheese from Cyprus - made from sheep’s, goat’s and often cow’s milk - has a high melting point, allowing it to be grilled or even fried,” it added. Although in Cyprus, where the average resident gets through an average of 8kg of it each year, Britons are said to consume more halloumi than any other European country outside Cyprus, with Sweden coming in behind.
“It’s a far cry from just a decade ago, when a request for the cheese in a mainstream supermarket would probably have been met with blank looks. Tesco is a useful barometer - it sells six varieties,” said the BBC.
So why is halloumi having its moment in the sun?
Daily Telegraph food columnist Rose Prince believes it’s “a reflection of three things - our love for Mediterranean cuisine, our eagerness to try whatever is new and the effect of TV chefs”.
She adds: “It only has to be used by Jamie Oliver in a recipe and it goes stratospheric.”
Halloumi is also a very popular choice in restaurants such as Nando’s, which serve slices of the cheese as a side order. Its sales have risen 138% since 2010.
Halloumi also features on the menu of Pret a Manger in the form of a falafel and halloumi hot wrap, and a halloumi and red pepper toastie, as well as on the Leon menu, served at lunch time in a grilled halloumi wrap or halloumi burger, but also at dinner time in a grilled halloumi dinner pot.