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What Is Goat Feta?

Christian Petersen
Christian Petersen

Goat feta is a type of cheese that is made from goat's milk. Feta cheese is very popular in the Eastern Mediterranean region, particularly in Greece, where it originated. The term feta cheese is a protected origin product designation. This means that by European Union (EU) law, cheese sold within its borders may only be called feta cheese if it is made according to certain parameters in certain regions of Greece. Feta cheese is made with sheep's milk or a blend of sheep and goat's milk. The maximum allowable amount of goat's milk in feta cheese, according to EU law, is 30%, which means that goat feta cannot actually be called such within EU borders.

Feta cheese is one of the oldest known cheeses and has been made in what is now modern Greece and nearby areas for thousands of years. Traditionally, the cheese was made from sheep's milk, although goat's milk was sometimes used, either in combination with sheep's milk or alone. Feta is a curd cheese, and is pressed into blocks, salted, and cured in brine, often for periods of several months. In other parts of the world, similar cheeses, often made from cow's milk, are made and sold as feta cheese, but these are not authentic feta. Goat feta is technically a feta type cheese made from goat's milk or a blend containing mostly goat's milk, although the term is sometimes used to describe any feta cheese containing goat's milk.

Goat feta.
Goat feta.

Known for its distinctive flavor, feta cheese, is saltier than many other cheeses, with salt content sometimes approaching 5%, as compared to 1%-3% for many other cheeses. Goat feta takes on the characteristic flavors of the goat's milk used to make it and may have a strong, sharp flavor that is more robust than other types of feta. Like other types of feta cheeses, goat feta can be used in a number of ways. Its compressed curd texture makes it particularly suitable for crumbling over salads, pasta, and pizza. It is an important ingredient in a number of Greek dishes as well as others from the surrounding regions.

Feta cheese comes from goats.
Feta cheese comes from goats.

Today, many cheeses which were formerly sold as feta in Europe, are called by other names. Some names are proprietary, and some are generic, like "Greek-type cheese." In other parts of the world, these cheeses are often still sold as feta, including some goat feta. Of course, small cheesemakers in Greece and the surrounding regions, who make goat feta for their own use rather than for sale, are most likely to call their cheese feta, regardless of EU law.

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    • Goat feta.
      By: Lsantilli
      Goat feta.
    • Feta cheese comes from goats.
      By: Jan S.
      Feta cheese comes from goats.
    • Greek salad with goat feta, olives, and tomatoes.
      By: Denis Tabler
      Greek salad with goat feta, olives, and tomatoes.