Culture, Language, The Economy

I’m slightly lactose intolerant, so Feta cheese (and other goat’s milk cheeses) is one of the few cheeses I can enjoy. My favorite kind of Feta is the Bulgarian variety, which is creamier than the saltier Greek version. However, it looks like only Greece is allowed to use the term Feta” for its cheeses:

In a European Commission Press Release (IP/02/866), June 14 2002, the European Commission adopted Feta as a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). According to this legislation, Feta cheese can only be produced in certain areas of Greece and respecting strict product specifications.

Producers in other member states (France, Germany, Denmark) have been given a time frame in which they must change the name from Feta to another name or to stop production.

That is now being challenged by the Danish and German governments, but the BBC news article has no mention of Bulgarian Feta. I guess the Bulgarian industry isn’t as large as its Norther European cousins.

Some fun (unsubstantiated) facts” from Wikipedia:

What we nowadays call feta cheese was known to ancient Greeks, at least since Homer’s era, as there were several references to it in the Odyssey. The myth has it that the Cyclops Polyphemus was the first cheese manufacturer. Carrying the milk that he collected from his sheep in animal-skin bags, he realised, to his great surprise, that days later the milk had become a solid, savory and preservable mass.

The name Feta (slice) dates back to the 17th century, and it likely refers to the method of cutting the cheese in slices to put it in barrels.

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