Halloumi Shortage in Britain, and Recipes to Enjoy

Grilled halloumi. Photo by Hmioannou, via Wikimedia Commons

A shortage of Cypriot halloumi in British supermarkets due to the growing demand from British consumers was reported by the British newspaper The Mail on Sunday, and many other UK publications. As is well known, the British market is the largest for the famous Cypriot dish. The newspaper shared comments from social media users in Britain expressing their disappointment at not being able to find their favorite cheese at their local supermarkets. Cypriot producers reportedly cannot keep up with the orders from Britain. It is also reported that a Cypriot halloumi company sends extra shipments to Europe by road instead of the cheaper sea route because demand is so high. The report also stated that scientists from the Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University, where Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell and the world’s most famous sheep, was born July 5, 1996, are trying to help Cypriot breeders increase their sheep’s milk production in order to increase the production of halloumi.

Here in the United States, thankfully, there is no shortage of the Cypriot cheese, so we can enjoy the following recipes.

Marinated Halloumi and Tomatoes

2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pound halloumi, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

16 white or whole wheat pitas

4 medium tomatoes, cored, halved, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Greek sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 tablespoons olive oil, the fresh mint, cumin, and a 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Add the halloumi cheese slices and toss to coat with the marinade. The mixture should marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. If preferred, you can refrigerate the mixture at this point for up to two days, just make sure to cover tightly and keep refrigerated.

Prepare the indoor or outdoor grill if the weather permits by heating to medium high. Grill the pitas until warm and grill marks appear, about 1 minute on each side, then transfer to a serving platter. Next, grill the halloumi for about 1 minute on each side or until grill marks appear and the halloumi starts to melt. Cut the warmed pitas into wedges and place a slice of tomato and a slice of the grilled halloumi on each pita wedge. Drizzle each with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle tomatoes with sea salt and additional freshly ground pepper, if preferred. Serve immediately.

Halloumi and Veggies Appetizer

1 small red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 bell peppers, color of your choice, cut into strips

2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Greek sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

6-8 whole wheat pitas

1 pound halloumi, cut into 2-inch strips 

1 cup hummus store bought or homemade

2 cups baby arugula

Add the cabbage, peppers, olive oil and vinegar to a bowl and mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. Toast the pitas in the oven or toaster as preferred. In a large frying pan, fry the halloumi for 3 minutes on each side or until crispy and golden on both sides. Cut pitas in half and spread with some hummus, top with the cabbage and peppers, halloumi, and some of the arugula. Serve immediately.