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Δεν το πιστεύω! Halloumi cheese shortage looms

Illustration for article titled Δεν το πιστεύω! Halloumi cheese shortage loomsem/em
Photo: -lvinst- (iStock)

There is much, much worse news out there than this bad news, but bad news it remains: A halloumi cheese shortage seems likely, as a global increase in demand coincides with soaring popularity in China. To that, we say, “μαύρη μέρα κι άραχνη.”


Newsweek reports that halloumi, a rubbery cheese made from a sheep’s, goat’s, and cow’s milk mixture on the island of Cyprus, has been growing more popular outside the region, but being the latest cheese sensation isn’t entirely good news for Cypriot farmers. (Checking ‘use the word Cypriot off my list of life goals.’) Some worry that they won’t be able to supply enough halloumi to meet the increasing demand, an anxiety exacerbated by “a protocol allowing the export of dairy products to China being signed between Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis and Minister of the General Administration of Customs of China Ni Yuefeng.”

Short version: They’re already strapped, and exporting to China will make everything that much crazier.


Halloumi’s squeaky, briny deliciousness has already caught the fancy of Chinese middle classes, as well as pretty much anyone who has beheld the majesty of this beauty from Burger King Sweden. It’s great in salads, but also has a high melting point, which makes it a solid meat alternative for fried sandwiches, as well as grilling and barbecue. Here’s dairy farmer Alexis Pantziaros, speaking to The Guardian:

“It’s difficult enough servicing demand in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Australia... If the Chinese learn about it too, it will become impossible to keep up. There just isn’t enough milk .. In summer, when temperatures get up to 42 Celsius [107 Fahrenheit], the animals produce very little. It’s very difficult to get them pregnant. In such heat, they don’t even want to eat.”

Pantziaros also told the Guardian that he had to import sheep from Italy and Denmark to keep up with the demand.

Halloumi is very, very tasty. It seems you may want to get your fix in a real damn hurry, before it becomes too expensive and/or rare to stress-eat while reading the rest of the bad news.


Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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can this be avoided, or is it a feta compli