Think of grilled cheese, and you can’t help but conjure up images of melting, oozing, gooey cheddar sandwiched between pieces of soft white bread. But what about halloumi, the original grilled – er, grilling cheese? Made from sheep, goat, cow, or even a combination of milks, halloumi is a cheese from Cyprus that doesn’t melt when heated, but rather, develops a crackly, brown crust. It’s fatty, greasy, and absolutely addictive — so much so its spawned some imitators, not to mention the similar versions that exist in other countries (think Finland’s “bread cheese” and India’s paneer).
Halloumi’s high melting point means you can throw a hunk of it on the grill, and the toasty crust that forms will keep the softening center from dripping all over the grates. And while it’s delicious on its own, halloumi is equally at home in a sandwich, tacos, and is phenomenal in place of meat for vegetarian kebabs. Traditionally, it’s garnished with mint, and served with a side of vegetables or on top of a salad.
And what’s up with that squeak? That’s still up for debate — some attribute it to the sound of air escaping from the cheese after being bitten into, others argue it’s due to halloumi’s long protein strands of halloumi rubbing against your teeth. No matter how you slice it, that squeak accompanies one seriously delicious cheese. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some halloumi and grill it up — you might just find your new favorite cheese!