Feta, Essex

Based in New York, the Essex Street Cheese Company is dedicated to sourcing impeccable wheels of classic European cheeses and bringing them to the United States. In addition to Manchego, Parmigiano and a handful of Goudas, Essex has recently begun importing a sheep's milk feta made on the island of Lesbos, the only Greek island to hold a PDO for feta. The cheesemaker, Tastanis, buys milk from from shepherds in Agra who milk a breed of sheep native to the island. The sheep feed on shrubs, herbs and flowers that grow near the sea, and are milked in the fields twice a day. 

Tastanis, which employs three generations of cheesemakers, uses its own yogurt to culture the milk. They do not make cheese between May and December because the shepherds do not separate the young lambs from the ewes. Their feta has a crumbly texture, and the clean, sweet, mildly grassy flavors that are characteristic of high quality sheep's milk.

Farm / Company: M. Tastanis/Essex Street Cheese Co.

Cheesemaker: M. Tastanis


Affineur: M. Tastanis

City, State: Agra

Region: Lesbos

Country: Greece

Milk Type: Sheep

Milk Treatment: Pasteurized

Rennet: Traditional



Aging: 4 months

Size(s): 10-pound block