Category: Cheeses and Dairy Products
Xinotiri of Naxos
Many of the classic elements of Mediterranean cuisine have their roots in the sandy terrain of Greece: wine, olive oil, artisan cheeses. The Cyclades islands in particular are a paradise for enthusiasts of diverse foods: from the miniscule fava bean of Santorini (harvested and threshed with horsepower and buried underground for a year) to Niotiko cheese from Ios (a goat cheese aged in stone cellars) to the extraordinary variety of cheeses on the island of Naxos. Among Naxos' cheese treasures, Xinotiri cheese is undeniably one of the most fascinating. The small forms of Xinotiri are shaped like pinecones; they are made in the mountains with the milk of free-range goats and sheep. A raw milk cheese, Xinotiri is soft and milky when fresh and with time becomes more compact. When aged, the cheese is eaten broken into slivers, where it melts on the tongue. Xinotiri starts out with a white curd, which – with time – assumes a pale yellow tint. The forms never develop a hard crust, only a thin skin. Xinotiri has a dynamic flavour: the initial impression of milkiness fades into a clear and persistent note of bitter herbs.