From Cyprus to the US: The Hunt for Authentic Halloumi Cheese

I guess the only reason you would be asking is there halloumi in America would be if you didn’t live there.

Because if you were resident in the US, then you would already know the answer!

So, let’s assume I am writing this article for the rest of the world.

Perhaps halloumi is your favorite cheese, and you are planning a vacation or permanent change of address. 

Then you need to know if it is readily available.

And if it’s actually called halloumi, or should you be looking for a different name?

Let’s head into the states and see if we can find any halloumi!

Halloumi in America is often pricey, as it’s mostly imported from Cyprus. The US represents only about 10% of global halloumi sales. However, with growing interest in vegetarianism, demand is projected to increase by 7% annually. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are common sources, though availability may vary. Halloumi can occasionally be found in the frozen food section. Specialty Greek and Turkish stores may also carry it. In the US, halloumi is also referred to as grilling cheese.

Is Halloumi Popular in America?

It can actually be surprisingly difficult to find halloumi in America.

And when you do happen to come across it, the cheese will be quite expensive.

This is due to the distribution chain, as the majority of halloumi is imported directly from Cyprus.

Currently, the US only accounts for 10% of worldwide sales, with the UK being the biggest consumer.

However, as more people become interested in adopting a vegetarian or Mediterranean-inspired diet, interest is growing in halloumi.

With its high melting point, halloumi is an ideal meat substitute and can be used in place of traditional burgers.

This newfound demand for the cheese is likely to account for an increase in sales, predicted to be 7% per year.

The most likely place to find halloumi is at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, but it is not stocked on a permanent basis.

At Trader Joe’s, you may find the halloumi is pre-sliced rather than sold in the traditional block.

Halloumi freezes well with no adverse effects when thawed and, as a result, may also be found in the frozen food section.

Towns and cities with a large Greek, Turkish or Cypriot population may also have specialty stores that stock halloumi. 

If you are struggling to find halloumi, then it can be substituted with tofu or Indian paneer.

What is Halloumi Called in the USA?

If you are struggling to find halloumi, perhaps you are looking for the wrong thing!

In the US, halloumi is often called grilling cheese.

Although traditionally made in Cyprus, it is also popular in Turkey, and therefore you may also find it under the name of hellim.

In fact, the word halloumi is actually a registered trademark in the US, currently owned by the Cypriot government.

So, local producers have to use a different name for their similar styles of cheese.  

Occasionally, it is called frying cheese.

In Spanish-speaking areas, it is also known as queso de freir.

Halloumi Cheese from Cyprus

Final Thoughts

Halloumi is available in America, but it’s quite expensive.

This is because the majority of the cheese is imported from Cyprus.

It can also be difficult to find as America only accounts for 10% of worldwide sales.

The likes of Trader Joe’s may stock halloumi, but it can also be sourced from specialist Turkish and Greek stores.

It may not always be called halloumi, as that name is a registered trademark, so look for grilling cheese instead.

It is worth seeking out this delicious Cypriot delicacy for a taste of the Mediterranean! 

If the specific geography of a cheese interests you, have a read of my article about whether Parmesan has to be made in Italy.

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