Comment: Craig Hickman, aka @DairyMan ponders the pleasure – or pain – that is halloumi.

Food is a great flashpoint on Twitter, a lightning rod attracting people who hold passionate views that they are willing to defend in the face of all opposition.

Unlikely alliances have been formed based on whether pineapple belongs on pizza (it most definitely does), and I will assert it as my Kiwi birthright that putting a slice of pineapple on anything makes it Hawaiian.

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Christmas mince pies are another source of great division both online and in real life: I still vividly recall the sense of utter betrayal when, as a small child, my mother offered me a mince pie.

I eagerly took the proffered treat, not noticing the tell-tale dusting of white on its crust, bit deeply and immediately spat the offending pastry on the floor.

I have tried to like them, sampling them again as a teen and as an adult, but, to my mind, they continue to be a blight on the taste buds of any right-thinking person.

I think we can all agree that sponge cakes are pretty good, and custard is sometimes the only thing that hits the spot; fruit is universally loved – and who has ever turned down jelly?

But some people insist on combining these four things and end up with trifle – the only dessert in the world where the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

DairyMan is definitely a fan of pineapple on pizza. Photo / File
DairyMan is definitely a fan of pineapple on pizza. Photo / File

Despite these deeply held beliefs of mine, I can still accept there are divergent opinions; some people have the stomach for minced-up fruit in inedible pastry; others cannot appreciate the sweet delight of cooked pineapple, and some even unpatriotically choose Vegemite over Marmite!

While I can bring myself to accept all these differing views, I must draw the line when it comes to my friend, who keeps their Vegemite in the fridge: that's just plain weird.

While I can understand these differences and accept that people might have an opinion that doesn't match mine, there is one food that I simply don't understand: halloumi, the pointless cheese.


For those of you fortunate enough to have never come across halloumi, it's a cheese with a high melting point that's made to be grilled or fried.

Presumably the next logical step is to put it in the bin, but if you do decide to bite into it, it squeaks.

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I'm not even kidding, it squeaks at you in pitiful protest, as if to say, "Haven't we all suffered enough already?".

It just seems so senseless; there are plenty of bland, rubbery foods out there already without introducing one that yelps as you eat it.

"But you haven't tried the original cheese from Cyprus," defenders of halloumi will tell me.

Well, no, I live in Ashburton.

"It's a great carrier of flavour! Try the chilli one!" they cry. You know what else is a great carrier of flavour? Steak, that's what.

It's not as though I haven't given halloumi a chance: I've put it in salads, eaten it in restaurants, and I even ordered halloumi from a street vendor in Germany, but the reason for this most pointless of cheeses has always eluded me.

I can only conclude that halloumi is an ancient Cypriot practical joke that the modern world has fallen for, and all I can ask is that if you're going to insist on eating it then please buy the one that Fonterra makes.

At least that way I can have the last laugh.

- Craig Hickman is a dairy farmer and avid Twitter proponent from Ashburton.