Kopanisti, Mykonos‘ trademark spicy, peppery fermented cheese, has become one of Mykonos’s best known mezedes.
This soft cheese, stored in brine, with its strong taste and creamy texture, which ranges in colour from white to pale beige, is also made on the neighbouring islands of Syros and Tinos from cow’s, ewe’s or goat’s milk or a mixture and has been awarded PDO status as a typical product of the Cyclades.
Kopanisti is produced in the following way: Initially the milk is stirred well with pectin and warmed in a large cauldron. After 24 hours of rest it turns into thick buttermilk, a substance similar to watery yogurt but with a more sour taste. In the next phase the buttermilk is strained for 24 hours in cheesecloth. The resulting soft cheese (tyrobolia) is used in salads, pie and sweets and its flavour and shape are similar to fresh myzithra (a cheese comparable to ricotta). When this ball is salted and kneaded, over and over, with the addition of a little kopanisti from a previous batch, it becomes a new batch of kopanisti (a word that comes from the verb to pound).
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