At HERO, we love our cheese. With five types of real cheese on our menu, we decided to bring a sixth for a limited time to help cool us off from the summer heat. Yes, the Kalamata Burger is back for a limited time. Made with fresh feta cheese and kalamata olives, it’s the perfect burger for the summer. Light, airy with a true taste of the Mediterranean, it will have you shouting OPA! after every bite.
Since the Greeks were the cradle of civilization, they were the first to bring the world the delectable tastes of feta cheese and Kalamata olives. Here are some fun and interesting facts about feta and Kalamata olives that will curb your appetite before biting into that juicy burger.
The history of cheese is as old as humanity itself, and is connected to the taming of domestic animals 10,000 years B.C ago. The roots of cheese making are not known with certainty. It is, however, believed that cheese was first produced roughly 8.000 years ago. It is very likely its discovery was completely accidental, during transport of milk in stomachs of young animals. To the modern consumer, the word Feta means brine cheese, produced in Greece, using specific technology from sheep and goat milk. According to Greek mythology, the gods sent Aristaios, son of Apollo, to teach Greeks the art of cheese making.
According to Homer’s ‘Odyssey’, the Cyclops Polyphemus was the first to prepare cheese and more specific, feta cheese. Polyphemus was carrying the milk that he collected from his sheep in lambskins of animals, until one day he realized that the milk had curdled and had taken a solid form. The cheese that was prepared by Polyphemus is considered to be the ancestor of feta. As Ulysses narrates in Book 9 of the Homer’s Odyssey:
‘We soon reached his cave, but he was out shepherding. We went inside the cave and looked around. It was astonishing-crates full of cheese, pens crammed with livestock-lambs and kids sorted into separate groups, with yearlings, older lambs, and newborns each in different pens. All the sturdy buckets, pails, and milking bowls were awash with whey. Next, Polyphemus curdled half the white milk, and gathered it in wicker baskets and laid it away’.
During the Archaic times, ancient Greeks, using the same general technique of storage in brine, produced a type of feta by sheep’s milk, while called the product that emanated from the coagulation of milk, just ‘cheese’. Feta is first recorded in the Byzantine Empire, under the name ‘prosphatos’ (‘recent’, i.e. fresh), and was associated specifically with Crete. The name ‘feta’ (‘slice’) started to be used by Greeks in the 17th century, and probably refers to the practice of slicing up cheese to be placed into barrels or to the method of cutting the cheese in thin slices to serve on a plate, while the name ‘feta’ itself prevailed in the 19th century.
Since 1926, feta is recognized as an original Greek product according to national legislation. Feta was always an integral part of the dietary habits of Greek people, while its existence is connected so much with Greek history, as well as with the Greek traditional way of life. Today, feta is the most consumed cheese in Greece and it’s also one of the most widely exported Greek products. Feta is classified by the European Commission as a ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ (P.D.O.) product.
Now that we’ve given you a brief history of feta, let’s move to the other ingredient, the Kalamata olive. The olive tree is known for thousands of years and most probably is originated from the East Mediterranean region. According to Greek mythology, the homeland of the olive tree is Athens and Greeks were the first who grow olive trees. The olive tree has been a symbol of culture and honour in Greece and it had been used even as prize for the winners of Olympic Games. Kalamata Olives, often known as the Greek olives, have distinctive taste and appearance, with oval shape, dark purple color, big size, intense flavor and fleshy texture. Combined with feta cheese on top of our 100% Canadian Angus beef burger, it’s a refreshing Mediterranean taste in the Great North.
Bite into one today. Enjoy a 4oz Kalamata Burger for the low, low price of $5.99 for only a limited time.
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Source: History of Feta – www.realgreekfeta.gr/history-of-feta