Laura Leigh Bean
Illustration, Visual Branding + Design
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Halloumi: A Love Story

It has become alarmingly apparent to me in my time in London that there are some things that just do not exist in the good ole’ U.S. of A. In particular:

- The question, “Large, or small?” when ordering a glass of wine

Flat whites

- Castles

- Credit cards with a microchip

- Roast chicken and thyme flavored potato chips

The Only Way is Essex

And today, I discovered the most devastating non-American thing of all: halloumi. I was nosily listening to someone’s elevator conversation today and they mentioned that the café downstairs was serving a dish with halloumi. I made a note to Google that, whatever that was, then promptly forgot to Google it. Fate intervened and today while picking up some dinner at Marks and Spencer (oh yeah, add that to the list) it jumped out at me from the cheese section. I picked it up out of curiosity to snack on while making my dinner and the rest, my friends, is history.

I will not rest until I can find this at home. In a previous career, I worked in marketing at a well-known gourmet food store in Chicago so I have TRIED some cheese in my day, guys.

This was unlike anything I’ve ever tried – salty like feta but somehow mild like mozzarella, and squeaky like a Wisconsin cheese curd.

And do you know what most people do with it?

FRY IT. Or grill it, but either way, it’s this magical cheese that retains its shape when cooked at high temperatures, turns crispy and golden brown on the outside and melty and gooey inside. It’s like a self-contained grilled cheese.
Judging from the sad Yelp chains, no one has sourced it in Chicago yet, but if you can make that happen, I will give you my first born child, then the second one, and then make all of these drool-worthy dishes for you.