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San Michali: The Parmesan of Syros

 

On the northern part of Syros, the unknown and unexeplored part of the island lies the tiny village “San Michalis” with the few inhabitants. Its name was borrowed from the neighboring mountain. San Michalis became famous for the production of the homonymous cheese produced from local livestock units.

This golden treasure, the traditional cheese of Syros, is produced with the same recipe for half of a century. Often described as the Greek Parmesan, the San Michali cheese produced exclusively on Syros, which has been identified as Protected Designation of Origin from the European Union since 1996, is, undoubtedly, one of the finest products of the Cyclades.

 

The production of this one-of-a-kind cheese began from the Catholic rulers of the island, who produced the first cow’s cheeses in Greece!

 

San Michali is a hard traditional cheese with cylindrical shape that has been produced on Syros Island for over 60 years. It is made with cow’s milk, which is partially skimmed, pausterised and coagulated. The milk used for the cheese’s production comes from cows kept on Syros Island, totally adapted to the environment. It is really interesting that the diet of the cows is based on the flora of the same region, in order to ensure the fine quality of the milk used in the production cycle. The cheese curd is divided into equal pieces, and reheated to 50 degrees, transferred to moulds and pressed vigorously. Thereafter, the cheese is salted by immersion in brine, and it is kept in ripening rooms for not less than four months.

 

San Michali cheese has a salty taste and a spicy tone, with discreet aromas and a buttery flavour reminiscent of the Parmesan. The cheese is produced using traditional technology and it is ripened within the defined geographical area. 46 tons of cheese is produced on an annual basis. Due to the ripening process and production procedure, San Michali cheese has been identified as the most expensive cheese in Greece, whose retail price reaches 23 Euros per kilo.

 

In 2013, the largest cheese factory was established in the region of Ano Manna from the brothers Stefanos and Kostas Vakondios who were engaged in milk production and livestock for almost twenty years. The modern cheese factory “Zozefinos”, that operates under the ISO 22000:2005 food safety system, uses modern pausterization, processing and production machines to produce the PDO San Michali cheese, gruyere, anthotyro, fennel, and fresh cow’s and sheep’s yoghurt. All of the products from Zozefinos cheese factory can be fount in the Cyclades, the major supermarket chains of Athens as well as Germany and France.

Contact Zozefinos Factory
Address: Ano Manna, Syros Phone: 0030.22810.75454