EU moves to protect halloumi/hellim cheese from both sides of Greek-Turkish divided Cyprus

LIFESTYLEAssociated Press

The European Union has moved to recognize halloumi, or hellim in Turkish, as a protected cheese from both sides of the Greek-Turkish divided island of Cyprus and lauds it as a symbolic step toward further reunification.

The salty, chewy cheese is perhaps Cyprus' greatest gift to world gastronomy and the 28-nation bloc on Tuesday took a major step toward full name protection by publishing its official application for the status, which would mean only cheese made in Cyprus could be called halloumi in EU countries.

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The island nation was forcibly divided in 1974 into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the cheese unification drive shows the commitment of both sides "to work together on projects unifying the whole island."