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Peloponnesian goat-sheep cheese, semi-hard, aged in brine. Spicy, versatile grill, snack, or pair with drinks.

view from above of pieces of round sfela cheese with fresh herbs and a knife

Sfela is a semi-hard brine cheese produced in the southern Peloponnese. It is a traditional product of the livestock farming of Messinia and Laconia, and bears the designation of Protected Designation of Origin PDO, since 1994. It is made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk and has the nickname cheese or feta “of the fire” – once it is produced with heating of the curd, although according to another version this name is due to its spicy taste.

The milk coagulates after pasteurization, is reheated and drained into bags. It is then cut into strips, salted and matured for at least three months and kept in brine, much like feta, but has a lower moisture content (45%) and a harder texture. The word sfela means strip in the Messinian local dialect and the name of the cheese is due to the way it is cut.

Messinian sfela cheese has a white colour, dense mass of medium hardness – with a few holes and no skin. It has a lively aroma of milk and butter, its taste is full, spicy, slightly salty and sour, and with a lasting aftertaste.

It is both used on its own, as an accompaniment, but also in cooking. It is eaten grilled, in a saganaki or raw with oil oregano and fresh bread, as meze, and accompanies meats, legumes, vegetables, pasta and pastries; it also participates in recipes with pita, meats, salads, omelettes and snacks. It can be combined with beer, ouzo, spirits and most dry wines.

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