Roslin Institute, part of the University of Edinburgh, states that halloumi makes a significant contribution to the economy of Cyprus, accounting for more than 15 percent of domestic exports, with the UK being the number one market. In Cyprus, there is a long-running dispute over the sheep, goat and cow milk ratio content in halloumi cheese, as the cheese industry insists that there is not enough sheep and goat’s milk to meet demand. Hence, a high amount of cow’s milk will likely be prohibited in future. For this reason, scientists from Roslin Institute is researching to help Cyprus secure future halloumi exports.
According to the scientists, the project aims to boost milk from sheep and goats, which currently does not fulfil demand, by designing selective breeding programmes for the animals. At the moment, an application for the cheese to be recognised with protected designation of origin (PDO) status is pending. If the status is granted, Cyprus will have to stick to the traditional method of halloumi production.
The application which was filed in July 2015 stipulates that the ratio of goat’s and sheep’s milk, or a combination of both, needs to be more than the amount of cow’s milk.
The project combines science in animal genetics and genomics with expertise in plant and microbial genetics. Such research will allow implementation of an efficient scheme to secure the future of halloumi that takes into account the unique conditions associated with farming Cypriot goats and sheep.
Boosting haloumi exports, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation has taken strong measures to promote the cheese. A pop-up restaurant which was open in London from November 13 to 26 was created by the organisation with this in mind. Every single course of the menu featured halloumi, with dishes such as halloumi and cauliflower fritters with a lime pickle yoghurt, grilled courgette and halloumi salad, chargrilled halloumi flatbread and crumbled halloumi fingers with tomato chilli jam. The menu even featured a different cheese ice-cream for dessert. Originally intended to run for just one week from Monday 13 November, the idea proved so popular, selling out the day it was announced, that the pop-up restaurant was open for another week at 100 Hoxton. As part of its advertising campaign, one of Britain’s largest chain supermarkets, Waitrose, has placed halloumi cheese on its ‘essential’ list this year.