Halloumi Hunters: Is This Cheese a Stateside Sensation?

America’s Cheese Quest: Halloumi – Fact or Fiction?

Halloumi is available in the U.S., mainly found in specialty cheese shops, some supermarkets, and international food stores. It may be labeled differently due to trademark issues, often called “grilling cheese” or “frying cheese” in America. While it’s more expensive due to being imported from Cyprus, its popularity is rising, especially among those interested in vegetarian diets. It can also be found online and in stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, though availability may vary.

Is Halloumi Popular in America?

It can 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.

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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 permanently.

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.

The word halloumi is 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.

A photographic style of a halloumi sandwich

Halloumi Heaven: Your Guide to Buying in the USA

If you’re on the quest to find out where to buy halloumi in the USA, you’re in for a delightful journey.

The popularity of halloumi cheese in the USA has surged in recent years, making it a staple in many kitchens across the nation.

The key to finding this Cypriot gem lies in exploring both local and online avenues.

In major cities, check out specialty cheese shops and high-end supermarkets, where the cheese section often boasts an international selection, including halloumi.

Stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are prime spots for halloumi USA enthusiasts, known for their eclectic and worldly cheese assortments.

For those who prefer the convenience of online shopping, there are numerous options where you can order halloumi cheese in the USA with just a few clicks.

Online gourmet food retailers and specialty Mediterranean websites offer a range of halloumi options, sometimes even directly imported from Cyprus.

Additionally, larger e-commerce platforms have joined the halloumi bandwagon, making it easier to get this beloved cheese delivered to your doorstep.

Remember, when buying halloumi, check for its origin.

Authentic halloumi from Cyprus offers a unique taste experience that’s hard to replicate.

Whether you’re grilling, frying, or using it in a salad, halloumi is a versatile cheese that’s sure to add a delightful twist to your meals.

So, embark on your culinary adventure and discover the joy of halloumi cheese in the USA.

Halloumi Cheese from Cyprus

My Final Thoughts

  • Halloumi is primarily imported from Cyprus to the U.S., contributing to its higher price, akin to how imported French wines are priced higher in American markets.
  • In the U.S., halloumi’s sales are currently only 10% of the global market, but its popularity is rising due to the increasing interest in vegetarian diets, mirroring the trend of plant-based foods gaining traction in the U.S.
  • Major stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sometimes stock halloumi, and it may also be found in the frozen food section, similar to how exotic fruits are often available in frozen sections.
  • In areas with significant Greek, Turkish, or Cypriot populations, specialty stores are likely to carry halloumi, much like how ethnic neighborhoods often provide specialty foods from their respective cultures.
  • In the U.S., halloumi may be labeled as “grilling cheese” or “frying cheese,” reflecting the country’s tendency to adopt alternative names for international products, such as “aubergine” being called “eggplant.”

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, read my article about whether Parmesan has to be made in Italy.

Have you been inspired to try halloumi in your next meal?

What creative dishes are you planning to make with this versatile cheese?

How does the challenge of finding halloumi in the US, due to its importation from Cyprus, influence your culinary choices?

Let us know in the comments below!

A photographic style of a halloumi salad


Q: What is halloumi cheese?
A: Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese traditionally made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. It’s known for its high melting point, making it perfect for grilling or frying.

Q: Can I find authentic halloumi cheese in the U.S.?
A: Yes, authentic halloumi, primarily imported from Cyprus, is available in the U.S. It can be found in specialty cheese shops, some larger supermarkets, and international food stores.

Q: Is halloumi cheese expensive in America?
A: Halloumi is generally more expensive in the U.S. compared to its price in Cyprus, due to import costs. Its price is comparable to other imported gourmet cheeses.

Q: Are there any American-made versions of halloumi?
A: Yes, there are U.S.-made cheeses that are similar to halloumi. These are often labeled as “grilling cheese” or “frying cheese” and are made to mimic the texture and cooking qualities of traditional halloumi.

Q: What are the best ways to enjoy halloumi in the U.S.?
A: Halloumi is versatile and can be grilled, fried, or added to salads. It’s a popular choice in vegetarian dishes and pairs well with a variety of foods, including vegetables and fruits like watermelon.

Q: Where in the U.S. am I most likely to find halloumi?
A: Halloumi is more commonly found in areas with significant Greek, Turkish, or Cypriot populations, as well as in major grocery chains like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. It’s also available in the frozen food section of some stores.

Q: Are there any dietary considerations with halloumi?
A: Halloumi is high in fat and salt, so it should be consumed in moderation. It’s suitable for vegetarians but not for vegans or those with dairy allergies.

Q: Can halloumi be used in cooking?
A: Absolutely! Halloumi is great for cooking due to its high melting point. It can be grilled, fried, or incorporated into various dishes for added flavor and texture.

A photographic style of a halloumi picnic spread

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