The unique Graviera cheese of Pittaras
Text and Photo: Panos Diotis and Mirella Kaloglou
Sure you all know the Greek feta cheese. What you might not know, is that Greeks have a great variety of cheeses, most of them produced in small or family companies in a traditional way.
Actually, this variety of the Greek cheeses can only be compared to that of France and Italy!
It is unfortunate that the Greek State has not made enough (if any) efforts to communicate this fact abroad and provide the opportunity for non-Greeks to taste the unique flavor of the many different Greek cheeses.
Graviera (quite different from the Swiss Gruyere to which it is sometimes compared), is the second most popular Greek cheese and is consumed in huge quantities.
It's great with pasta, casseroles (sprinkled on top before finishing baking), fried (saganaki), or just enjoyed with any salad, fruits, or traditional paximadi (rye/barley rusks).
There are many different varieties of Graviera, depending on the region of Greece where it’s produced. Each region has its own type, with unique characteristics.
Some are saltier, some are spicier, and some are made primarily with sheep/goat's milk while others contain mostly milk from cows.
One of the most popular Graviera cheeses in Greece, and also our favorite, is the one produced on the island of Naxos.
Naxos and the Cyclades Islands have a great tradition in making Graviera. So, when one of our friends recently visited Naxos, we asked her to bring us a local Graviera that would be different than the Naxos's Graviera that is available in Athens stores and supermarkets.
So she did. She brought us the Graviera that is produced in the cheese factory of Pittaras, in Naxos Island.
Nikolaos Pittaras, has created a farm on the island, which produces a unique cheese, fully respecting the tradition of Graviera making. The aging process followed is the proper one.
When we tasted it, it was rather evident that his farm allows the cheese to mature and does not try hastingly to dispatch it to the market.
Mr. Pittaras is also feeding his livestock with his own feed! He is growing his own plants in his farm which are then used for feed, to make sure that his product is made by animals bred with GMO-free feed. This way he cannot go wrong.
The texture of the Pittaras graviera, is great; it's a hard -yet smooth- dark yellow cheese, with a great mature nutty flavor and a sweet butter aftertaste. We enjoyed its taste with Cretan rusks and grapes. We were so impressed that we set up the camera, took some pictures of a beautiful freshly cut wheel and wrote this article to share our impression with you. We always believed that products and companies like this must be rewarded.
For more information about this Graviera cheese, you can contact the Pittaras cheese factory in this e-mail: [email protected] or call: +30 22850-62223.
This is not a sponsored article or any form of paid advertisement.