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Ladotyri Mytilinis | A Lesbos Flavorful Cheese Masterpiece that Savors the Tradition

Updated: Feb 27


George P. Papadellis | SG Head

with some good tips from AI

Cheese is a staple in the diets of many cultures, and Greece is no exception. In Greece, cheese-making has a long tradition, with many different types of cheese produced across the country. One of the most famous Greek cheeses is Ladotyri Mytilinis, a PDO hard, salty cheese made on the island of Lesvos from sheeps’ milk or from a mixture of sheeps’ milk and goats’ milk. This cheese has a unique flavor and texture that make it a popular choice among cheese lovers around the world. In this article, we explore the history of Ladotyri Mytilinis, its production process, and its culinary uses.

Ladotyri Mytilene  |  Shiny Greece

Ladotyri Mytilene | Photo by: C messier, Ladotyri 7719, CC BY-SA 4.0

The History of Ladotyri

Ladotyri Mytilinis has a rich history dating back to ancient Greece. The name "ladotyri" translates to "oil cheese," and it was named as such because it is traditionally rubbed with olive oil to preserve it. The cheese was initially made by the shepherds of Lesvos, who would milk their goats and sheep and make cheese from the milk. In the past, Ladotyri Mytilinis was produced exclusively on the island of Lesvos. Today, however, it is also produced in other parts of Greece, including in the Peloponnese and on the island of Crete. Despite this, the cheese made on Lesvos is considered the most authentic and sought-after.

The Production Process

Ladotyri Mytilinis is made from a combination of goat and sheep milk. Specifically, the milk used for the cheese comes from breeds of sheep and goats, whose diet is based on the flora of the area. The milk is first heated and then mixed with rennet, a natural enzyme that causes the milk to curdle. The curd is then cut into small pieces and placed in cheesecloth, where the whey is drained off. The cheese is then left to age for several months, during which time it develops its characteristic salty and slightly sour flavor. The aging process for Ladotyri Mytilinis is unique. The cheese is coated with olive oil and left to mature in a clay pot or earthenware amphora. This process allows the cheese to absorb the flavors of the olive oil and develop its distinctive taste. Genuine oil cheese has a yellow-red color and nowadays, for reasons of circulation, it is covered externally with paraffin.

Ladotyri Mytilinis

Ladotyri Lesvos | Photo by: | Athina Liakopoulou

Culinary Uses

Ladotyri Mytilinis is a versatile cheese that can be used in a variety of dishes. Its salty and slightly sour flavor make it a perfect accompaniment to many Greek dishes, including salads, soups, and stews. It can also be used as a topping for pasta dishes, or grated over vegetables for added flavor. In Greece, Ladotyri Mytilinis is often served as part of a meze platter, alongside olives, feta cheese, and other small dishes. It pairs well with a variety of wines, including reds and whites.

Greek Cheese-Making

Ladotyri Mytilinis is a unique and delicious cheese, an exclusive product of Lesbos that has a very rich and peppery taste, with a rich history and a distinctive flavor. Its production process is a testament to the traditional methods used in Greek cheese-making, and versatility in the kitchen makes it a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike. Whether eaten on its own or used as an ingredient in a dish, Ladotyri Mytilinis is a cheese that everyone should try at least once.


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