September Cheese of the Month: Mt. Vikos Barrel-Aged Feta

Feta is one of the world’s oldest, most primitive cheeses, a way of preserving curds by storing them in brine. Greek law states that Greek feta must be at least 70 percent sheep’s milk, with the remainder coming from goat’s milk. The Mt. Vikos cheese is 80 percent sheep’s milk, which makes it a little richer and creamier than the standard.

Produced on the mainland of Greece today, the area of Thessaly is where Mt. Vikos gets the delicious, snowy blocks of barrel-aged Feta. Following age-old traditions, a herder’s coop supplies goat and sheep milk for production of traditional feta, aged in 120-pound oak barrels. The result is a crumbly yet creamy cheese that is rich, sweet and tangy.

Feta is commonly sprinkled over salads, but feta as good as Mt. Vikos is outstanding on its own. Drizzle it with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with some chopped oregano and either hot pepper flakes, sliced green pepperoncini or black pepper. In Greece, feta is often baked in olive oil just until it softens, then served with crusty bread. Cooked or not, it’s great with a fresh, tangy wine to complement it. Serve with a bone-dry rose, Gruner Veltliner, or a lean and lively Sauvignon Blanc.

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Cheese, News | September 3rd, 2012