Greek Feta Is The Perfect Cheese To Pair With Roast Lamb For A Sweet-And-Salty Contrast

Pairing cheese with meat is often an art form where you want to balance and complement flavors. Mild meats like chicken may call for milder cheeses like creamy Brie. But what about gamey roast lamb? What cheese pairs best with this meat? Through an insightful chat with Laura Downey, cheesemonger and owner of Fairfield & Greenwich Cheese Company, Tasting Table learned Greek feta is the answer. It's the quintessential cheese to pair with roast lamb. "The tanginess of the feta helps cut through the fattiness of the lamb," Downey explains.

Greek feta's ability to stand up to the intense lamb flavors without overpowering it makes it an ideal pairing. This cheese, traditionally made from sheep's milk and sometimes a bit of goat's milk, offers a refreshingly vibrant taste, Downey shares. "[Feta] is bright and milky with notes of lemon, which pairs beautifully with lamb, particularly if you roast it with plenty of fresh herbs and garlic," she elaborates. Thus, Greek feta, when paired with the subtle sweetness of roast lamb, creates a harmonious blend of sweet and salty tastes. Thanks to Greek feta's lemony notes, there's a pleasant and needed hint of acidity. So, while Greek feta has contrasting flavors to the roast lamb, the combination is complementary. 

Ways to pair Greek feta with roast lamb

In the world of cheese, Greek feta is fascinating. It's ripe with history and was first made in Greece over 8,000 years ago. As a cheese, it stands out for its distinctive flavor profile. True Greek feta, as cheese purists would assert, is made exclusively from sheep's or goat's milk, with cow's milk versions often regarded as 'imposter feta.' We often celebrate this authentic Greek cheese for its tanginess, sharp boldness, and crumbly texture, making it an ideal complement to various dishes, particularly roast lamb. "Roasted lamb is a perfect match for a high-quality Greek feta," Laura Downey asserts.

When you're ready to pair Greek feta with roast lamb, note there are countless creative ways to do so. For a direct infusion of flavor, try crumbling the feta over the roast lamb during the last few minutes of roasting, allowing the cheese to melt and mingle with the meat's juices gently. Alternatively, a stuffing or marinade combining Greek feta, herbs, garlic, and perhaps some lemon zest can deeply season the lamb, infusing it with a beautiful medley of Mediterranean flavors. And, of course, you can never go wrong with a lamb gyro topped generously with Greek feta.