Feta (Greek: φέτα, féta, “slice”) is a brined curd white cheese made in Greece from sheep’s milk, or from a mixture of sheep and goat‘s milk. Similar brined white cheeses produced outside the European Union are often made partly or wholly of cow’s milk, and they are also sometimes called feta. It is a crumbly aged cheese, commonly produced in blocks, and has a slightly grainy texture. Feta is used as a table cheese, as well as in salads (e.g. the Greek salad) and pastries. Most notable is its use in the popular phyllo-based dishes spanakopita(“spinach pie”) and tyropita (“cheese pie”), or served with some olive oil or olives and sprinkled with aromatic herbs such as oregano. It can also be served cooked or grilled, as part of a sandwich, in omelettes, or as a salty alternative to other cheeses in a variety of dishes.
Since 2002, “feta” has been a protected designation of origin product in the European Union. According to the relevant EU legislation, only those cheeses produced in a traditional way in some areas of Greece (mainland and the island of Lesbos), and made from sheep’smilk, or from a mixture of sheep and goat‘s milk (up to 30%) of the same area, may bear the name “feta”. However, similar white-brined cheeses (often called “white cheese” in various languages) are found in the Eastern Mediterranean and around the Black Sea.