Cyprus Economy and Commerce

Greek and Turkish Cypriots unite

in defence of Halloumi/Hellim

The divided island comes together to seek protected status for its cheese – but Britain stands up for its own producers

Hellim_6Cyprus’s drive to secure protected status from the European Union for its national cheese has placed the British government in a diplomatic pickle.

London felt obliged last week to support British halloumi producers, who object to a Cypriot application that would, if successful, prevent them from selling their cheese under that famous name.

Picking up the gauntlet, Euripides Evriviades, Cyprus’s High Commissioner in London, vowed: “We will fight to the bitter end to secure our Halloumi/Hellim, a truly Cyprus product.” Hellim is the Turkish Cypriot name for the national cheese. (Learn more about this delicacy by clicking here)

Parts of the Cypriot media were less diplomatic when news first emerged in July of Britain’s challenge to Cyprus’s greatest gift to gastronomy – a versatile cheese made largely from sheep and goat milk that can be grilled or fried without melting, but is also delicious when eaten raw.

“We can tolerate drunken UK tourists in Ayia Napa and British troops on Cyprus soil, but we will not surrender out soft cheese to colonial rule,” thundered a columnist in the Cyprus Weekly.

But Britain also accepts that Halloumi has become an unlikely symbol of hope for reconciliation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The island has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded after a Greek-inspired coup.

Divided CyprusThe two communities, bitterly opposed in other respects, have united in defence of their national cheese. Together, they filed a joint application to the EU to grant Halloumi the same “protected designation of origin” (PDO) status as champagne or Cornish pasties.

The joint Cypriot bid to secure commercial protection of the brand from foreign competition has powerful backing from Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European commission. He has hailed the Halloumi affair as proof of the island’s leaders’ commitment to re-unifying Cyprus. “This is not a small thing,” he declared in July when the application was published in the EU’s official journal. “It is a highly symbolic issue for both communities. We build confidence with such measures”…..

Read the complete article by clicking the following link: Halloumi-Hellim

Source: The Telegraph – Read the original article and more news by clicking the link.