Disaster. Cyprus is claiming halloumi for itself, and wants UK producers of the salty staple to use an alternative name
Adorning a burger. Grilled on the barbecue. Perhaps even secretly cut straight from the block and eaten uncooked under the fridge light. However you have it, halloumi is a salty godsend.
And while you may think of it as a strictly Mediterranean product, there's a select number (three, to be precise) of cheesemakers here in the UK dealing in the squeaky treat.
But they've got a problem.
Turns out, their fellow cheesemakers over in Cyprus have put in a bid to protect their wares with a Protected Designated Origin (PDO) status.
This would mean that any halloumi made elsewhere would legally need to label itself with a different name – putting it in the same bracket as Champagne, Brie, Cornish clotted cream and Melton Mowbray pork pies (we ask ourselves why PDO ingredients are always so delicious – but that's for another time).
The issue is, however, that halloumi is not (and arguably never has been) produced solely in Cyprus.
"Cyprus isn't the only halloumi-producing country in the world," says Thali Dichner, dairy manager of halloumi making Plaw Hatch Farm in West Sussex. "We also have the cheese exported from Greece and Turkey, so I don't understand it."
Razan Alsous left Syria in 2012 and now produces halloumi through her business, Yorkshire Dama Cheese, located near her new home in Huddersfield. For Razan, disallowing her calling the cheese "halloumi" makes no sense.
"Cypriots didn't invent halloumi," she says. "It originated in the Middle East. The word 'halloumi' comes from an Arabic word. To say that only Cypriots can make it is like saying that only Italians can make pizza." (Please, don't go there Razan).
Doubtless, if the move passes, and British halloumi makers were forced to sell under a new moniker, it would not be good for small businesses.
The rest of the EU have until September 2016 to stop the legislation going through. Let's hope they manage it. Supporting British produce is important – and "English grilling cheese" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
Like this? Then try these:
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