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The role of ”Halloumi” cheese in the lives of Cypriot people from the ancient times to today:

According to historical reports , Cyprus has been known for the production of Halloumi for hundreds of years. The Halloumi produced in Martio was referred in Italian – venetian as ”calumi” by Florio Bustron. Centuries ago Dogis Leonardo Dona visited Cyprus and in his documentary he mentioned ”calumi”. In A.D 1563 Elias of Pesaro visited Famagusta and in his letter he referred to cheese types being produced from goat,cow and sheep milk. In A.D Richard Pococke also visited cyprus and pointed out that Cyprus was well known and acceptable for its goats cheese and other types of cheese produced in the island. Also in A.D 1788 Arximandridis Kiprianos introduced a book named “The Chronological History of Cyprus Island” where it explained ”halloumi” cheese being produced from goats milk makes the cheese more tasty. According to Bevan in 19th century the most tasty cheese produced in Cyprus was ”Halloumi”.
The importance of ”Halloumi” in the Cyprus community has been referred below.

In A.D. 1836 D.K.Vizantios, A.D 1827 a Cypriot played in a theatrical drama called ”vavilonia” in ”Navplio” where the actor wanted to eat Halloumi cheese at the theater. In A.D 867 The poet Giorgios Viziinos had a poem named ” the poor cypriot” where ”Halloumi was described as ” i was first remember the village, then i got a bit hungry, after eating bread with Halloumi i become like a monster.”

Halloumi/Hellim plays an important role in every Cypriots nutrition and way of healthy living. Cypriots use halloumi throughout the year. According to P. Ksiafta (2001), Halloumi cheese is produced in a very unique way and and is indispensible in every farmers household. In 1934 O.A.Pitcairn wrote an article on how Cypriots give a great importance to Halloumi because it is a traditional and exclusive product in which locals demand and consume on. The article also pointed out that every product produced in Cyprus is made in a unique way .

In the housing of old farmers the ”Halloumi” cheese used to fullfill the need of nutrition as well as have great importance within the community. it also allowed special significance for people, social cohesion and solidarity among families but also constituted an opportunity to socialize with each other and making friends (especially among women). Every family had their own animal to produce a small amount of milk and for this reason neighbors would share their milk in order, so that the amount of milk would be enough for everyone in the production of Halloumi . In order to make an efficient production take place they would work all together as a team (”co-operative”). Within 1-2 months all families had produced ready Halloumi that was availble to be consumed , this is how the ”co-operative” was introduced and operated. According to İkonomidis (2004) the families in this village consisted of 10 to 15, but the number of women in the co-op, depended on the number of goats. The women owning the most goats became the president of the co-operative and she was the first one to add yeast to the milk and produce Halloumi.

As Halloumi cheese was being made by the community, at home, with neighbours, the production gradually within time turned into small manufacturing of Halloumi.
Specially in the early 1940′s permission was given for Halloumi to be produced as a manufactured product . (1939 -1955 as seen in period copies allowed). Halloumi, was organizing the island in order for the manufacturing of cheese factories.

According to the department of telecommunications within the Cyprus community there were people with surnames like “Hallumas”, “Halluma”, “Hallumakis”, Hallumis” showing that these families were inolved in the making of Halloumi. Also a village in Famagusta named Pirga has an area called “Hallumaes” this also proves that the production of Halloumi was made in this specific area.

Halloumi also played an important role when a “Agricultural and Animal Show” took place in 1915. there was 168 participants and most of them was from Halloumi and Carob industry. In September 1939 there was ”Lyssi Agricultural Show” where Halloumi also played an important role in the participation. This show was important because the Hellim name in Turkish was also used that both cultures share the same product.

Apart from the fact that Halloumi was produced locally it was also produced for exporting worldwide which improved the economic lifestyle for the Cypriot community. According to Arhimandriti Kipriano ” Halloumi was exported in large amouts abroad.” Also according to V. White (1983) Halloumi was constantly being exported to Syria. Manager of the Department of Agriculture in Cyprus M.T.Dawe (1928) announced that halloumi was exported to; Egypt, Syria, Greece, Turkey, Palestine, France, Sudan, Onikiadalar’a, England, America, West and East Africa, Australia and to China. The production and exportation of Halloumi then was organized and controlled by the competent institutions of the state. Also between the years 1916-1921 there was Halloumi exports to Lebanon, Egypt, and Mersin.

Hellim Production:

Milk

Halloumi is produced from fresh or pasteurized sheep, goat milk or a mixture of these with or without cow’s milk. In production of Halloumi fresh milk from healthy animals is obtained and used. Following the birth giving of the milk giving animal, after 5 or 7 days the milk which looses the features of colostrum can be used in making Halloumi. Milk that contains Colostrum cannot be used in making Halloumi. The milk obtained from the animal must be kept in suitable temperatures until it is fermented in Halloumi making process. It is not allowed to darken the milk, mix it with milk powder, mineral salt, colorants, preservatives and other additives that is to be used in Halloumi production.
The milk produced within the borders of Cyprus is moved to the production facilities inside proper vehicles where the raw milk quality is preserved. In production facilities, the milk is kept in appropriate conditions in cold storages.

Coagulation

Milk fermentation temperature of 32-34 ° C is set. Then the rennet is added to the milk and it coagulates.

Processing of the Curd:

After fermentation, the curd is cut and the clot is gradually heated again to 40 ° C with stirring. The curd is placed in appropriate moulds and is pressed until the pieces of curd stick together and release water.

Taking the Nor Cheese

The curd obtained after coagulation is pressed. After this process, the remaining whey is heated more than 80°C and the serum proteins of albumin and globulin are coagulated. Composed curd is pressed and Nor is obtained.

Cooking

Whey which Nor cheese is taken out of is heated to 90 ° C and pressed Halloumi is waited for at least 30 minutes inside the whey and thus “halloumi cooking” operation is performed. This is a technique only used in Halloumi production and not in any other cheese. The cooking process, helps to maintain the organic characteristics of Halloumi.

Salting and Folding

The Halloumi cheese removed from the cooking water is optionally folded and in between pre-salted fresh or fry mint leaves are optionally put.
The Halloumi cheese removed from the cooking water is optionally folded and in between pre-salted fresh or fry mint leaves are optionally put.
Mature Halloumi, is kept in its brine for at least 40 days at 15-20 ° C. When maturation process is completed, they are either sold in bottles with its brine or packaged in airtight plastic vacumed packs.
Until the fresh Halloumi is reached to the consumer, it is kept between 2-6 ° C. Mature halloumi is also kept in a cool place.

Packaging

The whole process of Halloumi cheese making including packaging must be done in Cyprus – the packaging process, food safety, product traceability and maturation phase since it contributes to the authenticity of the product’s physical, chemical and microbiological properties.
Halloumi brine is acquired after the Halloumi is made and Nor cheese is taken out of it. Brine is filtered and more water and salt is added to the water. Whey contains whey proteins in a 20% portion. Even after production of Halloumi cheese and Nor cheese, the remaining whey contain these proteins. The serum proteins found in Halloumi water have the same structure of the milk proteins which are unique to Cyprus. Therefore, Cyprus Halloumi has a unique taste and aroma.
In order to ensure hygienic conditions all stages of Halloumi production (including packaging) until it reaches the final product must be made in Cyprus.
Halloumi is a first class source of protein, which is also rich in calcium and minerals.

Energy and Nutritional Values

ENERGY AND NUTRİTİONAL VALUES (100 gr)
Energy
352,6 kcal
Protein
26 g
Calcium
700 mg
Phosphorus
590 mg
Carbohydrates
1,4 g
Fat
27 g

Halloumi’s economic value

Until this day, Cypriots have been exporting Halloumi in large quantities to many countries, including the countries where Cypriots have immigrated to. After many years of exporting Citrus products Dairy products have also gained a large place in the exports list. Dairy products form %15 more of the Cypriots export list. According to the statistics in 2012 $29,7 million worth of dairy products was exported from North Cyprus. Which Halloumi and Dairy Products a leading export product of North Cyprus. Eventhough there are many Cypriots abroad till 2012 the export level was higher to EU countries but in the recent years the export level has increased to the Middle East. In 2005 the exports were %10,3 to the Middle East and by 2012 it reached to %35,7. Dairy products and Halloumi had been a great assistance for the increase in the export levels.