The European Commission announced on Thursday night that it had approved the addition of Cypriot Halitzia Tillirias cheese to its Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) register.
The cheese, which is known as “helik” in Turkish and, as the name suggests, is native to the Tilliria region, is described by the European Commission as “a soft to semi-hard white cheese from Cyprus, made from heat-treated fresh goat’s milk, rennet, and salt.”
“It is matured in salted whey for at least 40 days and has a soft to semi-hard and quite crumbly texture with characteristic holes of different sizes and shapes. The cheese has a fresh taste, with a lemony and slightly salty aroma,” they added.
They went on to describe the appearance of the cheese, saying “due to the characteristic shape of the cheese, its pure white colour, and the irregular holes inside, which give them a rough appearance, like stones polished smooth by the action of seawater, the chunks of Halitzia Tillirias resemble large white pebbles found by the sea.”
They noted that it is these characteristics give the product its name, with the word “halitzia” in the Cypriot Greek dialect meaning “pebbles”.
They added, “expertise in the production of Halitzia Tillirias is often passed down from one generation to the next, and to this day it is still produced in small household businesses or in the homes of inhabitants of Tilliria.”