France Reveals its Love Affair with Greek Feta Cheese

Charles de Gaulle may have famously said of France: “How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” but Greece is increasing sales of its famous feta to the cheese-loving country.

Data from the Greek embassy in Paris this week states that exports of cheese to France grew by more than 11 percent in 2017, with sales of feta in particular accounting for almost all of the €21.8 million ($25.6 million) export value.

The sheer volume of these multi-million-euro exports is impressive, with Greece sending well over 4,000 tons of feta to France in 2017 — this was a huge 50 percent increase on 2016, the Greek embassy report stated.

Greek feta exports have faced challenges from outside the EU in the form of copies. In recent months, professors, journalists and consumers have banded together to found a ‘Friends of Feta Club’ to promote the Greek cheese’s EU status as protected designation of origin (PDO).

Feta has been designated a PDO by the European Union, after several legal challenges by other EU countries. The designation — for cheese produced at specific regions in Greece and with specific ingredients — is legally binding only within the EU, not internationally.