Metsovone cheese is produced from sheep, cow or goat milk or their mixtures, in the Metsovo region (Epirus), hence its name. Milk used for its production comes exclusively from herds of sheep and goats traditionally raised and adapted to the particular region, whose diet is based on locally found plants.
It matures for at least 3 months. It has a 38% maximum humidity and 40% minimum dry fat content. It is classified as a semi-hard to hard cheese, with a thin and dry skin; its colour resembles that of straw. It is commonly found in pieces of a cylindrical shape, 10 cm in diameter and 10 cm in height, wheighing 1.5, 2.5 or 4.5 kgr. It is a table cheese and has a slightly salty and peppery taste and pleasant aroma.
For its production, producers add cheese-milk with an acidity of 0.3-0.35 SH to the milk prior to its coagulation, at a proportion of 3-4%. Coagulation occurs at 32-35oC (within 10 to 15 minutes). It is then divided, warmed up to 46-48 oC for 15-20 minutes and then removed, drained and allowed to mature in wooden containers, until its pH reaches 5.3-5.1. The curd is then cut in slices and transferred in hot water at 75-80 oC where it is kneaded until it becomes uniform and smooth. It is then transferred in cylindrical moulds which are placed in cold water, in order to obtain a constant shape. The salting of the cheese is done by immersing the cheese in 18-20 Be brine for as many days as the weight of the cheese in kilos. The cheese is then dried, tied with string and transferred in a room with a temperature of 15-17 oC and relative humidity of 85% where it remains for at least 3 months until it matures. After maturation, it is naturally smoked by burning local plants for 1-2 days, and covered with paraffin. It is then ready for consumption.