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Why Greek people love feta so much

When I first met my Irish roomate, he declared to my Greek face that he just doesn’t like feta. Today he uses it with every meal. So why is the Greek national cheese so important to our cuisine? What is hidden behind the common misconceptions about the infamous feta cheese?

Feta is a cheese that you can use simply or extravagantly, but the key is you have to give it a go! Once you’ve learned how to use feta, it will gain a permanent space in your shopping list. In Greece we use this cheese for absolutely everything; sometimes we use it for its creaminess, others for its saltiness, and sometimes just for its crumbly texture. So, you could say that we use feta as a sort of spice; a means to fortify a dish’s taste and create an explosion of flavors. I like to think of it as a chemical reaction that happens between food and feta, with the cheese bringing out flavors that you didn’t even know existed. 

So yes of course we add feta in our salads, we eat it with souvlaki and moussaka but crucially there is so much more than just those stereotypical uses. The single most classic snack in my own family is bread, feta and tomatoes; a combination that –I imagine–  sounds bland until you try it. One of our most vivid summer memories will always be the combination of a freshly-cut watermelon with chunks of feta. We use it in dips, pies and we put it in every pasta bake (in fact, the combination of feta with any pasta recipe is truly delicious, I highly recommend it). 

Sprinkle some chopped tomato, chilly, olive oil and black pepper on a slice of feta and bake it inside a tinfoil envelope; I promise you, your taste buds will never be the same again. Have a long green pepper stuffed with crumbled feta, fry it and enjoy it with a cold beer. Add it in any food that happened to be under-seasoned. 

Incredibly versatile, full-flavored, packed with calcium, tasty; have a slice of it with your meal, bake it, crumble it, don’t be afraid of using it and you will love feta too. 

photo by theresac

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