Was There Cheese in Ancient Greece?

Cheese has been a beloved food for centuries, but was it present in Ancient Greece? Let’s explore the history of cheese in this ancient civilization.

A Brief History of Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece was a civilization that existed from the 8th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It was well-known for its advancements in philosophy, art, architecture, and politics. The Greeks were also known for their unique cuisine.

The Role of Dairy in Ancient Greek Cuisine

Dairy played an important role in Ancient Greek cuisine. Milk and cheese were commonly consumed, especially by the wealthy. Cheese was often used as a topping for bread or mixed into dishes like pies and stews.

Types of Cheese in Ancient Greece

Several types of cheese were popular in Ancient Greece, including:

  • Feta – Made from sheep or goat milk, feta cheese is still popular today and is often used in Greek salads.
  • Myzithra – A soft cheese made from sheep milk. It was often mixed with honey to make a dessert called melitzanopita.
  • Anthotyro – A fresh cheese made from whey and goat or sheep milk. It was often served with honey as a dessert.

Cheesemaking Techniques in Ancient Greece

The Greeks used several cheesemaking techniques that are still used today, including:

  • Coagulation – This process involves adding rennet to milk to create curds and whey. The curds are then separated and pressed into cheese.
  • Brining – Cheeses like feta were often brined to preserve them and give them their unique flavor.
  • Aging – Some cheeses were aged for several months to develop their flavor and texture.

Conclusion

Cheese was definitely present in Ancient Greece and played an important role in their cuisine. From feta to myzithra, the Greeks had a variety of cheeses to choose from and used them in many different dishes. Today, we can still enjoy some of the same types of cheese that were popular in Ancient Greece.