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The art of melichloro/melipasto cheese making in Lemnos island
ICH element inscribed on the National ICH Register of Greece
Domain: oral traditions and expressions / social practices- rituals- festive events / traditional craftsmanship
Melipasto/melichloro is a traditional cheese made by local producers and traditional creameries, on the island of Lemnos island in Greece. It is made from goat and sheep milk. Traditionally no refrigerators are used neither while it is in the process of maturing nor for its preservation. In the first phase of its maturing, its texture is between semi hard and hard and as the procedure continues it hardens further. This type of cheese and the technique used to produce it, constitute an important part of the gastronomic tradition, as well of the cultural identity of the people in Lemnos.
Melipasto / melichloro is made by the local farmers and producers of Lemnos, continuing the tradition of cheese-making on the island by their ancestors. For the last 50 years, a number of creameries have been operating in various parts of the island. Most of them follow the traditional way of making cheese with small variations.
A private initiative, which was vital for the inscription of the Melipasto/Melichloro on the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Greece, is the Terra Lemnia Project (https://med-ina.org/project/terra-lemnia-project/), part of which is the protection and highlighting of this cheese making tradition. The project is lead by The Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA) (https://med-ina.org/) a non-profit organisation with a focus on the Mediterranean region and beyond, established in 2003 and based in Athens, Greece.