An innovative Cypriot entrepreneur believes he has come up with a solution that will solve the problems associated with the shortage of sheep and goat’s milk in making traditional halloumi, which has been a bone of contention with farmers throughout the PDO saga.
They have been saying for years that the PDO-mandated formula of at least 51 per cent sheep and goat milk to 49 per cent cow’s milk will leave the cheese industry short of supply and unable to produce as much halloumi as they do today. The PDO went through earlier this week but the problem remains unsolved.
The entrepreneur told the Cyprus Mail his plan to use mouflon milk not only stays true to the original form of halloumi made by ancient Cypriots but can help in the conservation of the endangered species by creating ‘mouflon dairy farms’ in specially protected nature zones.
“Mouflon milk was said to be the original substance used in halloumi thousands of years ago anyway, so technically the PDO itself as it stands now is inauthentic. I could even go so far as calling it fake news,” said Bambos Katsikas, a self-described environmentalist who made his fortune bringing new milks onto the market in Europe and Asia.
His plan is to set up a number of nature zones in the Paphos area “where mouflon feel most at home”.
“They won’t even know that they’re on a farm and not really in the wild,” he said. “Imagine what the halloumi would be like. The real thing. A taste of the ancient.”
Mouflon like to roam free in the Paphos forest and are protected but over the years when their population grew too big, they started to look for food on local farms and destroy crops. Katsikas believes that by creating mouflon farms, some of these issues can be resolved.
“The farms can also be a source of information about the mouflon where scientists can come to study them or children can learn about them,” he added.
“Preposterous,” said a spokesman for MouflonLife Cyprus. “We will not allow this ‘entrepreneur’ to confine these magnificent creatures and milk them. How does he propose to do that? Send hunters to catch them and bring them to the barn for milking? I think Mr Katsikas is the one spreading fake news,” the spokesman added.
Katsikas told the Cyprus Mail he would submit a feasibility study in any event.
“There is nothing to lose by trying,” he said. “If it doesn’t work, there is also a chance that we could bring more donkey milk to the market and make halloumi with that. We could call it ‘Assoumi’. The Cypriot donkey is also unique and I remember once the old Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash once said the only true Cypriot is the Cypriot donkey.”