The cheeses of Karystos are renowned, especially the local types of kefalotiri, mizithra and touloumotiri or touloumisio.
The milk supply in the region comes mainly from goats and sheep. (There is very little cattle rearing and it is restricted mainly to home use).
The local shepherds have an old tradition of cheese-making from their sheep and goats.
Kefalotiri (mild, salty hard cheese)
Heat and curdle the milk and pour it in the ‘tirovolia' to settle. The ‘tirovolia' are weaved rush baskets made by the locals especially for cheese-making. The ‘kefalia' (‘heads' of cheese) are formed and half of them are placed in vats, salted, left to mature and 3 months later the ‘kefalotiri' is ready
Touloumisio (salty cheese - forerunner of feta - ripened and preserved in skin bags)
To make ‘toulomisio' cheese you need the remaining heads from the previous recipe and some mizithra.
The heads are cut in cubes (of about 8-10 cm). In the whey that was left from the ‘kefalotiri' you add fresh milk equal to the 10% of the total quantity that you will curdle to make the mizithra. This is a typical local cheese-making procedure.
In a wooden tub you mix the cubes of cheese with the mizithra. Add salt and allow the mixture to ripen for 2 - 3 days. Today they store the cheese in wooden barrels to mature for 1-3 months. That is why they call it ‘varelisio'.
In the old days they used to store the cheese in specially treated animal skins, called ‘touloumia'. That is where the name ‘touloumotiri' came from. In order to preserve the cheese for as long as possible, they salted it very heavily.
It should be noted that no skimming takes place in any of the traditional cheese-making procedure, which is an invention of the ‘Arvanites' - the people who settled in the Cavodoro area after the 12th century.
Today there are 2-3 organised cheese-making factories in the area which make kefalotiri, touloumisio, mizithra and feta.