Artisan Greek food brand Odysea has announced a major extension of its speciality cheese range in Waitrose with the landmark launch of the UK’s first grocery line of Manouri cheese (RRP 2.50), alongside innovative NPD in the form of a brand new Odysea Baking Feta with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing (RRP £3.00) and Odysea Feta Crumbs (RRP £2.15). Positioned to showcase Greece’s strong heritage of cheese production, each product has been developed through robust taste testing and meets the highest of standards in terms of provenance.
Showcasing the finest Greek produce, these three cheeses will launch into Waitrose in July, following in the footsteps of other Odysea industry firsts. The brand has nurtured relationships with Greek artisan producers since 1991 when founder Panos Manuelides first brought authentic Greek olives to the UK – selling them from a stall in London’s Portobello Road. More recently in 2016 and again working with Waitrose, the brand launched the UK’s first Saganaki cheese available to UK consumers en mass through a supermarket retailer.
Odysea’s Manouri cheese is produced by one of Greece’s most exemplary cheese makers, with top-tier product quality and authenticity ensuring its taste credentials do due credit to this traditionally consumed Greek cheese. New to UK grocery, Manouri is a semi-soft whey cheese produced using a mixture of sheep and goat milk with top quality cream. The addition of the whey, which is a by-product of feta making, creates an incredibly creamy texture. Manouri has a firm texture and a rich, buttery taste that works well with sweet and savoury dishes. In Greece, the cheese is often grilled and can be added to salads or served alongside fruit with a drizzle of honey. For adventurous home cooks, Manouri can also be used to make a classic cheesecake in replacement for cream cheese.
The exclusive feta products – Odysea Baking Feta with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing and Odysea Feta Crumbs – are produced by leading, family-owned Greek feta cheese maker, Roussas Dairy. All lines are made exclusively with pasteurised sheep and goat milk to achieve a truly authentic product with depth of taste, ensuring strong appeal with foodies and cheese connoisseurs alike. The dairy has an incredibly rich history and many of the methods used to produce the feta have been passed down from the Roussas family’s nomadic forefathers, the Sarakatsani. Roussas Dairy have strong links with the shepherd families of the Thessaly region which supply them with fresh milk from free-ranging herds. With chefs like Ottolenghi and Sabrina Ghayour championing Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, the use of ingredients including feta cheese have seen an uplift. These two new products are designed to be used both traditionally and also to be easily incorporated into on-trend recipes.
Odysea Baking Feta is unique to the market and comes in an oven-proof paper tray alongside a small tub of sweet red pepper dressing. To prepare, pour the dressing over the feta and bake till golden and slightly melted. The warm, soft cheese pairs perfectly with the sweet, mellow red peppers. Odysea found its inspiration for this new product from Bouyiourdi, a popular meze enjoyed in Greek tavernas – a tapas style small restaurant. Meanwhile, Odysea Feta Crumbs are ideal to sprinkle onto salads and other everyday dishes.
Panos Manuelides, founder of Odysea said: “We are passionate about sharing traditionally Greek ingredients and flavours with UK consumers. Our long-standing relationships with some of the country’s finest producers sets us apart from competitors and allows us to source truly unique cheeses that offer home cooks not just optimal flavour and quality but also the reassurance of a stringently overseen line of sourcing. These three cheeses deliver stunning taste profiles while being true to their heritage and showcasing strong provenance.
Waitrose cheese buyer, Chris Dawson, said: “We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of uncovering specialist products and introducing new types of cheese to our shoppers. Our customers enjoy great quality and are always looking for something new and exciting to add to their recipe repertoire. Feta cheese enjoys particularly strong sales and we anticipate these innovative new formats will be well received, while Manouri cheese will deliver something truly unique for customers looking for new ways to bring a taste of the Mediterranean into their cooking.”
Odysea prides itself in sourcing high-quality, authentic products from Greece and the Eastern Meditteranean to offer consumers a wide spectrum of traditional and contemporary flavours from this exceptional cuisine.