|Battle of the Cheeses
The term "feta" has become a protected designation of origin since the year 2002 after a long battle with Denmark, which produced a similar kind of cheese with cow's milk under the same name.
How would you like your pizza without any cheese? Boring, right? We believe, cheese makes everything better, right from a slice of bread to a glass of Chardonnay. Its creamy, milky, and sharp salty flavor can just make your soul sing. However, its origins were quite humble. Cheese making was devised as a method to preserve milk proteins for the cold winter days when milk was scarce. The basic method for the preparation of cheeses is coagulation of the milk proteins, separation of the solid milk proteins from the milk, and pressing of the solids into a final solid form. Depending on the type of cheese to be made, the pressed form is either ripened (aged with either salt or living organisms) or unripened. Sometimes there is addition of other ingredients like peppercorns, garlic or chives to add to its flavor profile. Cheese is traditionally made from the milk of cows, buffaloes, goats, or sheep. In Nepal, cheese is made with yak's milk and is called Chhurpi. Let's take a look two categories of cheese.
Feta Cheese Vs. Goat Cheese
Defining the Cheeses
★ Feta cheese is traditionally produced either from sheep's milk alone or from a mixture of sheep and goat's milk. However, the amount of goat's milk cannot be greater than thirty percent. The term "feta" is only given to this particular cheese that is produced in mainland Greece and the island of Lesbos.
★ Goat cheese is traditionally made from yes, you got this one right―hundred percent goat's milk. This type of cheese is produced predominantly by France and is called "chèvre".
★ This cheese is said to have originated in the Byzantine Empire around 8th century BCE.
★ This cheese may have originated around 7000 BCE.
★Feta is basically of three types, depending on where it is being produced. The taste varies slightly with its type.
French Feta: This cheese is usually made with hundred percent sheep's milk. It is usually creamy and not very tangy.
Bulgarian Feta: This cheese is again made with hundred percent sheep's milk. It is creamier and slightly saltier than its French and Greek cousins. Its taste can be described as slightly earthy and yeasty with a mild hint of sourness.
Greek Feta: Not to sound biased, but this feta is considered as true feta. Nope, it's not us saying it; that's how the European Union defines feta cheese. This is usually a blended cheese that contains seventy percent or more of sheep's milk and the rest is usually goat's milk. It is quite creamy and salty with a hint of tanginess running through the cheese.
All feta cheese have a chunky, crumbly texture and are quite firm to touch.
There are certain variations of feta cheese that are made with goat's milk; these variations are slightly drier and firmer than the feta made with sheep's milk.
★ Depending on the process they go through, we can classify goat cheeses into many types. This processing will also have a profound effect on its texture and taste.
Soft unripened: This type of cheese is usually not aged. It has a smooth creamy flavor with a tangy finish. It has an earthy, slightly goat aroma. This cheese is very soft and fragile and can be cut easily with a spoon.
Soft ripened: These cheeses have a soft and creamy center, and the exterior of the cheese is covered with a white velvety mold. Ripened cheeses tend to get harder as they age. They have a crumbly texture and a complex flavor. They have a typical smell of ammonia.
Firm unripened: This cheese has a sweet taste with certain hints of tang to it. This cheese has a firm, buttery, and slightly crumbly texture.
Hard ripened: The texture of this type of cheese may be similar to that of Gruyère, but is slightly harder. It is a bit grainy and dense with a earthy and almost nutty taste.
Both these cheeses are a rich source of calcium and phosphorous, and are essential for proper bone development. Feta cheese, however, has a greater amount of sodium. It has fewer calories than goat cheese. Hard goat cheese has a higher saturated fatty acid content. It has a higher amount of vitamin B complex, and it is needed for the maintenance of red blood cells. It also has a higher amount of selenium, which has antioxidant properties and is capable of preventing premature aging and incidence of cancer. This cheese also prevents vaginitis and Candidiasis, some venereal diseases. This cheese has very little lactose and can be consumed by individuals suffering from lactose intolerance (always check the label to see if cow's milk is blended or not).
Nutritional Facts per 100 g
|Vitamin A, IU||422 IU|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||14.946 g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||4.623 g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.591 g|
Goat's Cheese (Hard)
|Vitamin A, IU||1745 IU|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||24.609 g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||8.117 g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.845 g|
* Source: USDA
For our health-conscious readers, we'd recommend to opt for the low-fat and low-sodium substitutes as it good enough for both your tongue and your waist!