Turkey receives EU protected status for first cheese

“Ezine Peyniri” is made from a mixture of sheep, goat and cow milk
calendar icon 3 January 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Ezine Peyniri, of a variety of cheese from Turkey, has awarded the protected designation of origin (PDO) by the European Union, the first PDO in Turkey registered by the EU, according to a press release from the European Commission.

“Ezine Peyniri” is a creamy white cheese made from a mixture of sheep’s, goat’s, cow’s milk, and sea salt. It has a creamy and buttery aroma of cooked milk. The cheese is matured in brine for at least eight months, which gives it its characteristic sour and mild-sweet taste.

“Turkey has a long-standing culinary tradition," said Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, head of the EU delegation to Turkey. "I welcome the fact that the EU journey of Turkish products continues so successfully. The consumers will know that they are getting the genuine “Ezine Peyniri” cheese. This registration will also bring wider recognition to the hard-working producers of this excellent cheese in Turkey and the EU.”

The “Ezine Peyniri” cheese is produced in the Ezine, Bayramiç, and Ayvacık districts, located between the Kaz Mountains and the Aegean Sea, and some villages of Çan district. This area reflects the transition between the Mediterranean and Black Sea climates. With semi-humid, high-precipitation and windy climatic conditions, the region has a rich flora of hundreds of aromatic plants.

The animals that produce milk for this cheese are fed exclusively with fodder from the geographical area. The quality of the milk results from free-range dairy farming and the abundance and quality of the fodder available in the area. Also, sea salt is exclusively used in producing “Ezine Peyniri”.

“The registration was particularly important in that it is the first Turkish cheese variety to be granted geographical indication status by the EU," said Agriculture and Forestry Minister İbrahim Yumaklı.

Another supporter of the application process is Abdullah Deniz, chairman of the board of Çanakkale Commodity Exchange. “We were looking forward to this result," he said. "The EU registration of our products and the heritage of our land, culture and traditions makes us proud. The EU recognition of “Ezine Peyniri” cheese after Çanakkale's “Bayramiç Beyazı” fruit is an encouraging development for our other products."

The producers from Çanakkale are also positive about this development. “We have a problem with counterfeiting in Turkey," said producer and president of the Ezine Cheesemakers Association that conducted the application process for registration, Ali Öztürk. "Counterfeit products are sold cheaply. Both our consumers are deceived, and our producers are aggrieved. I hope the EU logo will help overcome this.” 

“Having the EU's logo will be a prestige for both our region and Türkiye," pointed out cheesemaker Ali Atak. "I think export opportunities will also increase."

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