The little known cheese from Cyprus is in the final stage to be a Protected Geographical Indication product.
Another traditional product of Cyprus is heading towards its inclusion in the European list of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) products. We are talking about Halitzia Tillyrias, a white soft cheese with holes produced in the Tillyria region of Cyprus and although it is not as well known as halloumi, in recent years its popularity (on the island, mainly) has grown considerably.
The application for the registration of the “Halitzia Tillyrias PGI” name was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on August 18, thus starting a period of three months during which one can lodge an objection against the registration. In case of no objection, the finalization of the registration will follow and the process will be complete.
Halitzia Tillyrias are soft to semi-hard white pieces of cheese made from heat-treated fresh goat’s milk, rennet and salt. Halitzia Tillyrias mature in a brine for at least forty days from the time of their production, before they are ready for consumption.
They are available in the market in a transparent package that contains several pieces of cheese together, covered in a brine. Their taste is characterized by a slightly salty, sub-acidic freshness, with a lemony aroma. As stated in the registration application, Halitzia Tillyrias resemble large white sea pebbles, due to their characteristic shape, off-white color and irregularly sized holes inside that give a rough appearance, similar to that created by the weathering of sea salt on the gravel. The use of the plural number is related to the visual image of sea pebbles, which is more pronounced when the pieces of cheese are packed close to each other.
The application also emphasizes that, in order to preserve the product’s irregular shape and crumbly texture, it is necessary to pack it within the demarcated area of Tillyria, as any transport and packaging outside of it could increase the risk of altering its special characteristics. Additionally, packaging within the demarcated area ensures better traceability.
Photo credits: NGO Promotion of traditional Cypriot products, through specialized fairs, in the various rural communities, https://www.facebook.com/kentro.provolis.paradosiakon.proionton