Why is there a row about halloumi happening in Europe?

Last updated at 11:12
Halloumi.Getty Images

Who doesn't love halloumi?

The deliciously squeaky, chewy cheese can be eaten grilled, fried, barbequed, in a burger and even in the form of halloumi fries.... Mmmm!

But halloumi experts in Cyprus, where the cheese comes from, are taking the European Union (EU) to court - specifically the EU Intellectual Property Office.

It's because they say that other producers from outside of Cyprus are not preparing or making the cheese correctly, but are still calling it halloumi.

They want the European courts to give the cheese 'Protected Designation of Origin' status. (Find out more about what this means below.)

This is because halloumi is very important to the Cypriot economy, and accounts for over 15% of the country's total domestic exports.

A group of halloumi defenders will appeal the EU Intellectual Property Office's decision not to award protected status to the name 'halloumi' as a trade marked product from Cyprus.

So how do you make halloumi 'properly'?

Traditional halloumi is made using a mixture of goat and sheep's milk on the Mediterranean island.

The milk is heated and mixed with liquid rennet - an enzyme found in animal's stomachs - which separates milk into solid curds and whey.

A-goat-being-milked--in-order-to-make-halloumi-in-CyprusGetty Images
A farmer milks a goat ready to make some traditional Cypriot halloumi

But many supermarkets don't use this method, preferring to use cow's milk, as it is cheaper to produce and more widely available.

This has made traditionalists in Cyprus unhappy and they are trying to stop this form of it from being sold within the EU under the name 'halloumi'.

Traditional-halloumi-being-made-in-Cyprus.Getty Images
Traditional halloumi being made in Cyprus
What is a Protected Designation of Origin label?

When a food, drink or product is from a particular region, it can given a 'Protected Designation of Origin' label.

This means anything similar, but not made in that specific place or region, cannot technically be named in the same way.

For example, you may have heard adults talk about the fancy, bubbly alcoholic drink called champagne.

Well, there are many different sparkling wines in the shops, but they can only be called 'champagne' if the drink is made in the Champagne region of France.

That is because having this name, which is officially protected, tells consumers that they are buying the 'real deal' product.

You may have also had a Jersey Royal potato on your plate at dinner time - they are new potatoes grown only in Jersey.