Ladotiri (‘oil cheese’) is a hard table-cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk and has a distinctively rich and spicy flavor.
Ladotiri has been one of the country’s favorite cheeses not only because it does not require refrigeration, but also because it is a great meze.
In order to make ladotiri, a process similar to that of making feta cheese is followed, with the main difference being that it is dried in the sun until it hardens and is then stored in a jar filled with high quality olive oil, thereby creating ladotiri. It can be kept unrefrigerated for at least 3 months!
Once the olive oil is added, the cheese begins to brown and, after two or three months becomes mildly peppery. Its peppery flavor grows increasingly intense over the period of a year. At this point, it is strongly peppery and resembles the good kopanisti of Mykonos and the “wild” moldy cheeses of the small producers of France and northern Spain. It can be preserved in oil for up to two years.
The ladotiri of Mytilene, also known as “kefalaki of Mytilene” (“head of Mytilini”), is a traditional Greek hard cheese with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) but is also produced in other parts of Greece without this designation.