Friday, July 17, 2009


I stepped off the blue cheese path this week to wander into the realm of grillable cheese. That’s right, cheese you slap right on the barby. I first tried Halloumi earlier this month at London’s Borough Market, where a group of dreadlocked dreamers were grilling up Heavenly Halloumi Burgers. I waited in a long queue to buy one and soon realized I had been missing out on something wonderful. Halloumi is heavenly, if only because it makes such an easy, vegetarian summer meal. Ready the grill, cut the cheese into quarter-inch slabs, toss on the slices until they sizzle, and you’ve got the basis for a quick, savory supper.

The Cypriots claim Halloumi as their national cheese, and friends who traveled through Greece this summer tell me you can’t spit an olive pit without hitting someone who is selling, grilling, or eating Halloumi, even for breakfast. It looks firm, like mozzarella, but tastes more like feta – pleasantly salty. It really is a lovely, light, summer cheese, and I can imagine it fitting in nicely amid sliced tomatoes and whole basil leaves in a grilled spin-off of a Caprese salad. It really does need to be eaten while it’s hot, though, which is why it makes compelling party food -- it's an impressive appetizer as friends are milling about the backyard.

In the future, I'm going to try skewering it with veggies on kebabs, or, when figs are ripe: grilling fig and Halloumi kebabs drizzled with honey. (Alas, I have to turn everything into a dessert.) What I'm most curious about is whether any cheesemakers in the States are making Halloumi -- the Mt. Vikos brand I bought was decent, but it didn't make me do any shoulder rolls, you know what I mean? And at $13 a pop, I want to be undulating.


  1. This sounds like a perfect summer meal. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for Halloumi the next time I'm at a specialty market. I don't think any of my local markets carry it.


  2. We in Australia are huge fans of Halloumi! Yum for breakfast with a little basil pesto drizzled over it and great on the BBQ! It kind of goes 'squeeky' when cooked.

  3. what do you call cheese that isn't yours?

    nacho cheese!!!

  4. I find that grilled halloumi is texturally similar to chicken, which is great for vegetarians. I'm thinking of making a fajita-style dish with grilled halloumi strips... oh and this halloumi I bought came impregnated with cranberries. So good!

  5. any idea where to buy this in Philly? been having a hard time locating one of my favorite cheeses!

    1. You can find it at some of the cheese counters in Reading Terminal Market. My favorite halloumi dishes are at Zahav (amazing) and Kanella (it's on the brunch menu).