haloumi

From my recent posting “Dubious disavowals?”, in a description of the offerings of the Welsh food truck Dirty Bird Fried Chicken:

The menu … features items such as the Dirty Hippy Burger with fried Haloumi, Chilli Slaw, Red Onion, Mayo, Hot Sauce and a pickled cucumber in a toasted brioche bun.

The erratic capitalization is entertaining, but my focus here is on the ingredient haloumi, a kind of cheese.

From Wikipedia:

Halloumi or hallumi … is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. Halloumi is set with rennet and is unusual in that no acid or acid-producing bacterium is used in its preparation.

Halloumi is popular in Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the Levant. It has recently become very popular in the United Kingdom.

… The cheese is often used in cooking and can be fried until brown without melting, owing to its higher-than-normal melting point. This makes it an excellent cheese for frying or grilling (e.g. in saganaki) or fried and served with vegetables, or as an ingredient in salads. Cypriots like eating halloumi with watermelon in the warm months, and as halloumi and lountza – a combination of halloumi cheese and either a slice of smoked pork, or a soft lamb sausage.

Note the English spellings here, with LL, in transliteration from the Greek χαλλούμι (with λλ), and contrast it with the spelling in the Dirty Bird description above, haloumi, with one L. The one-L spelling seems to be common (but not universal) in UK sources, and on sites describing how you can make the cheese at home. Here’s an Australian version:

Meanwhile, there’s been something of a crisis surrounding the genuine Cypriot product. From the Esquire food blog “Eat Like a Man” on 11/11/13 (by James Joiner):

The halloumi cheese shortage of 2013 is here: You can grill it, you can fry it, but you can’t make it anywhere but Cyprus

… Since halloumi is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product, only cheese made in Cyprus, with Cypriot sheep and goat milk, can bear the name.

Here in the US, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods seem to stick to Cypriot halloumi, so supplies have been down and prices up, thanks to threats to Cypriot sources due to political and economic crises there.

3 Responses to “haloumi”

  1. Andy Sleeper Says:

    At a hotel in Chicago recently, at the breakfast buffet, they were serving some dish with egg, meat, and cheese, with a little sign saying “Scrambled with chorizo sausage and chihuahua.”

    Adjectives with assumed nouns are asking for trouble, it seems to me. From scrambled, I understand eggs, though it could have been brains.

    After I inquired, I learned that “chihuahua” refers to a type of cheese I had never heard of. I think “cheese” would have been an important word to include.

  2. Avy Says:

    Just thanking you for your posts. Apart from language, I look forward to them for learning about “food that goes down easy.” From your blog, i learnt about eggs done over easy, hash browns and now I keep a look out for haloumi at the supermarket. Thanks.

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Horton Copperpot on Google+:

    Haloumi also seems to be a popular breakfast cheese in Israel — or, at least, it was a decade ago. For example,

    http://goo.gl/pxS08a

    A couple of years ago, several Costco stores, at least in the Northeast, carried Israeli Tnuva-brand Halloumi as a part of their expanded Kosher line. It didn’t move well and Tnuva offerings had shrunk to just Quark cheese.

    The PDO process isn’t quite complete and carries significant political implications.

    http://goo.gl/mS0H3D

    EU PDO has had some rather profound implications…

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