The Greeks are known for their traditional sheep and goat milk cheeses, including anthotyro, feta, haloumi, kasseri, kefalotyri, telemes, touloumotyri, and manouri cheese. Manouri cheese is described as a fresh semi-soft cheese made from whey drained from feta production combined with cream and/or milk. The result is a creamier, milder, and less salty than feta. It is also sometimes characterized as having a slightly citrus or lemony flavor.
Manouri cheese also differs from feta in another of its aspects. While feta is made in Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, and the United States as well as in Greece, manouri cheese seems to only be made in Greece. Manouri is made in Thessalia and in central and western Macedonia, both in central and northern Greece.
In recipes, manouri cheese is used interchangeably with a number of other cheese including cream cheese, feta, ricotta salata, mizithra, mozzarella, and farmer’s cheese. The creamy white cheese has no rind or casing, and is often sold in log-shaped rolls.
Typical uses for manouri cheese include:
- spanikopita, the spinach cheese dish made with layers of phyllo dough and typically including a blend of cheeses, such as feta, anthotyro and manouri;
- kalitsounia, sweet pastries from Crete;
- savory cheese pies, including those served for Easter—a custard pie made with a blend of cheese which may include feta, manouri, kefalotyri, or parmesan;
- in the dressing called brinza;
- served with fresh fruit slices, honey, and toasted walnuts;
- as a salad garnish particularly for salads of beans, eggplant, or tomatoes;
- as a desert cheese; and
- as a pasta topping.
There are a limited number of companies that serve as importers of manouri cheese to the United States. These include Mt. Vikos in Marshfield, Massachusetts; Castella Imports in Hauppauge, New York; and Parthenon Foods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In January of 2005, there was a Canadian Food Inspection Agency recall of Provato Manouri Traditional Greek Cheese, as there was a concern that it might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. At the time of the recall, there had been no reports of illness, and the product was prepared with pasteurized milk.