The Middle East might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of cheese. But some of the most loved types of cheese originates from that region. Feta and halloumi are two, delicious examples.
You don’t have to go far to find these products in restaurants (thanks to wholesale cheese suppliers in Melbourne). Halloumi has well and truly earned its place in the ‘Aussie brunch’ experience. We can hear all those food Instagram influencers sharing a collective hallelujah!
Before we take you on a ‘trip’ to the Middle East, let’s take a little cheese ‘history journey.’
So, where did cheese come from?
No, it wasn’t France! Cheese dates back 7,000 to 8,000 years ago in the Middle East, where humans first discovered the art of making it. Legend has it, milk was stored and transported in goatskin containers made from the stomachs of young goats where it naturally curdled… and where we discovered one of the best foods known to man.
Is cheese good for you? Are there health benefits?
Something that tastes this great must be good somehow, right? As long as you don’t go overboard (we know, it’s hard), yes, it’s a nutritious food source.
Cheese is a good source of calcium, protein, and fat – as well as Vitamin A and B12, zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin. Cheese made from the milk of 100% grass-fed animals is your best bet, nutrient-wise, as it also contains Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin K2.
The different types of cheese (and when to use them)
Cheese can be grouped into four categories:
- Stretched (Mozzarella)
- Middle Eastern
- Hard Cheese
Let’s focus on the first two types and why they’re so versatile.
Mozzarella, aka ‘stretchy cheese’
This cheese needs no introduction. Mozzarella is used at home, both in cooking (pasta toppings, lasagnas and toasted sandwiches), as well as a topping for pizza or salads. It’s a popular choice in restaurants, cafes and pizza shops, too.
A traditional Middle Eastern cheese, smooth in texture with a mild salty taste, Akkawi is a good table starter. This cheese is great by itself, or eaten with crackers or a flatbread.
Bakeries and sweet shops often sell Akkawi in fatayer (a pie stuffed with this cheese), consumed across Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Kuwait, and Israel. Akkawi is also a delight in the dessert, kanafeh. Think pastry, dough, syrup, a layer of cheese, cream, and nuts. Oh my!
Also a table cheese in the home, Baladieh is a soft white cheese. This artisan cheese is best enjoyed by itself or in a salad, because of its delicious creaminess. Originating from Lebanon, Baladieh takes your tastebuds to a different ‘time zone.’ Buttery, mild, sweet yet salty, this is a cheese everyone must try once. It’ll bring meals to a whole new level, in such a simple way.
Shanklish is the Lebanese and Syrian version of blue cheese. Typically served in small balls, shanklish is enjoyed just with oil, in a salad or in fatayer – making this cheese something great to share.
Shanklish has a sharper, stronger, more pungent flavour delivery. It’s one of those special foods that doesn’t require a thing. A common meze dish, people in the Middle East usually consume Shanklish with finely chopped tomato, onion, and olive oil. It can also be served with fried eggs, pita bread, cucumbers, mint, and olive oil. Oh, stop it!
You’ll find this cheese in Middle Eastern bakeries and restaurants (with a long line of avid fans). It’s a treasured ingredient in a part of the world that many of us may never have the opportunity to visit. But thankfully, we have cheese wholesalers in Melbourne.
This cheese supplier in Melbourne is bringing the Middle East, to you
If you’re looking for a wholesale cheese manufacturer (including Mozzarella or any Middle Eastern Cheese) in Melbourne, contact us on 03 9359 0439 or fill in the contact form. Cottage Cheese Farm supplies to restaurants, pizza and börek manufacturers, and cheese-loving homes.
Over the years, we’ve perfected our award-winning cheese range. In 2020, we won the Gold Award for the best mozzarella cheese in Australia. Your customers (or kids) will love this… and taste why we’re the go-to mozzarella supplier.