Feta is a Greek cheese made with either sheep's or a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk. It's white and soft with no rind and has a solid consistency with only a very few small holes if any at all. It has an agreeable if slightly acidic taste and a rich salty flavour which it gets from having been aged in a brine bath for up to a month.
The earliest written records of the name feta date back to the 17th century when Greece was ruled by the Venetians and the name is said to derive from the Latin word "Fete" which refers to the practice of cutting the cheese into slices so they can be placed in wooden barrels. Cheese historians still argue over whether the production of feta gets a mention in The Odyssey, but it seems more probable that it was some other, not dissimilar cheese.
Traditional feta is matured in wooden barrels or tin casks at cheese-making units located inside the designation of origin areas (DOA) in Greece, namely Macedonia, Thrace and Epirus in Northern Greece, Thessaly and Mainland Greece in central Greece, the Peloponnese in southern Greece, and the island of Lesvos.
Some shops sell a 'variety' of feta made with cow's milk which is artificially whitened. This is done because of the high fat content in cow's milk which turns yellow after a few days. Authentic Greek feta cheese never turns yellow. Following a decision by the European Commission, non-Greek producers, notably Denmark, now have to call their “feta” something else.
Greeks obviously take their cheese seriously; they consume an average of 23 kg per person annually, 40% of which is feta. I’m going to make a dint in that total having acquired 523g of it from Tesco for £1.28. First project is a feta pizza and then I’ll take it from there.