Graviera Naxou cheese is produced in the island of Naxos, in the Cyclades. It is a cheese with external rind, yellow under-colour and compact mass with small holes spread around the mass. It is produced in round forms from pasteurised cow milk or mixtures that include a small percentage of sheep and goat milk, the total percentage of which are always under 20%.
It is a hard cheese, with a pleasant taste and a light aroma. It has a 38% maximum humidity and 40% minimum fat content. It is categorised as a hard table cheese with a pleasant flavour and light aroma. Milk used for its production comes exclusively from herds raised traditionally and adapted to the particular region, whose diet is based on locally found plants.
For its production, the coagulation of the milks occurs at 36-37 oC and lasts for 30-40 minutes. The curd is then divided into rice-size grains and is warmed up to 50 C for approximately 30 minutes. At a constant temperature of 50 C, the cheese is allowed to ‘cook’ for 60 minutes under constant stirring. The curd is then poured into moulds covered with cloth and is placed under pressure for 3-4 hours. During this period the cloth is changed 3 to 4 times. After this stage, the cheese is placed in 20 Be brine and at 14-15 C for 2-5 days, depending on the size of the cheese. The cheese is then removed from the brine, dried and allowed to mature for 70-80 days at approximately 15 C.