This yellow, hard, buttery, and aromatic table cheese is one of the most popular cheeses in Greece. Regions throughout the country produce their own versions using a mixture of cow's, goat's, or sheep's milk. As a result, Graviera runs the gamut of textures and flavors—from sweet to savory to piquant. The cheese is typically aged between five and 12 months before it is sold.
One version from Crete, known as Graviera Kritis, is made with sheep's milk. Young, this version has a mild and nutty flavor, but it can become sharp and peppery with age. Graviera Naxou, produced on Naxos typically using cow's milk, is sweet and buttery. Graviera Agrafon, which comes from the mountainous area of Central Greece and is made with sheep's or goat's milk, has a milder taste.
Graviera's flavor is different depending on the variety. Graviera Kritis is known for a slightly nutty, caramel flavor. Other versions can be milder, with notes of fruit and butter, or sharper and more piquant.
Graviera has many uses: Serve alone as a table cheese or grate into sauces and atop pastas and vegetables. For a Greek-inspired snack, fry slices of Graviera into saganaki and pair with ouzo or white wine.