Armenian String Cheese
Region: Middle East
Flavour: buttery, nutty, sharp
Producers: Sun-Ni Cheese
Synonyms: jibneh mshallaleh, Syrian String Cheese
A string cheese is formed in long strings twisted together. It is a product that is peelable and when it is peeled, it separates from the larger cheese in strips. Most of the cheeses cannot be peeled because of the way they are processed. The curds are pressed into blocks resulting, the cheese either crumbles or breaks apart. In case of string cheese, the curds are worked into elastic strips, which are then plaited or twisted. This creates fibres of cheese that can be pulled away in strings. Cow, sheep, and goat milk can be used in the preparation of string cheese. It is popular with children as it is an excellent source of protein and calcium.
In Middle East countries of Armenia and Syria, traditional string cheese is prepared from goat or sheep’s milk. In some places, it is made from 100% whole cow's milk. The cheese is flavoured with various spices including black cumin, nigella seeds and a unique Middle Eastern spice known as mahleb. The cheese is available in an indefinite plaited loop. In Syria, string cheese is known by its Arabic name ‘jibneh mshallaleh’. Middle Eastern string cheese goes well with Lebanese bread and licorice flavoured Greek liqueur, Ouzo.
The flavour of Middle Eastern string cheese varies from velvety, buttery to a sharp, tangy one. Texturally, it is firm and flexible besides giving a thread feeling in the mouth. Many people associate Mozzarella with string cheese as it can be plucked apart in logs.