Originally published in Journal de Montréal on December 5, 2009.
Feta is a brined curd cheese that is soft and white and produced in blocks. It has been made in Greece since ancient times, but its name only dates back to the 17th Century. It comes from the Italian word “fetta” meaning “slice”. The curd is in fact cut into slices during production.
In th past few years, feta has become a protected designation of origin product in the European Union, and its name is uniquely reserved for a cheese made in Greece from pure sheep’s milk, or mixed with less than 30% of goat’s milk. As the name feta is not protected outside the European Union, similar looking and tasting products can be found in many places, including in our own region.
Several traditional cheese dairies in Quebec make feta with goat’s milk or with a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk. Having said that, feta that is sold in local grocery stores is almost exclusively produced by industrial cheese dairies from cow’s milk.
A few of our recipes that feature feta cheese: