The Curious Story of Sardinian Feta
Crumbly, salty, and brined, 'Feta' is well-known to be a traditionally Greek cheese, with similar varieties of brined white cheese widespread across south-east Europe. Northern Sardinian is not one of the localities one expects to produce this versatile young cheese, and yet over the years the tradition has become so engrained for one creamery in particular, feta has become part of their core range of cheeses.
The 'feta migration' began during and following World War II, when numerous Greek cheesemakers fled to Sardinia, bringing the recipe with them. One of these cheesemakers, Christo Berdebes, born and raised on the Greek isle of Kefalonia, ended up in Thiesi in northern Sardinia, a town with a population of just over 3,000.
During production, the feta is washed and re-washed, salted in brine, cut in small wedges and placed in beech wood barrels to rest. This process gives the cheese a firm crumbly texture and delicate salted flavour with a sharp finish. Incredibly versatile, it works well in salads, served with lightly toasted bread and extra virgin olive oil, baked with tomatoes or in numerous vegetarian recipes.