One of the most popular Turkish cheeses is beyaz peynir (literally, “white cheese”). The best beyaz peynir is made in the small town of Ezine, in the Çanakkale province. I had a chance to visit Ezine and meet with a local cheese shop owner who has lived in the town since he was a child. Rather than selling dozens of different types of cheeses (like you would find in most cheese shops in larger cities), he sells only beyaz peynir in his shop. Of course, there were other locally produced items such as olives and olive oil to pair with the cheese.
Beyaz peynir is consumed in a variety of ways. Most simply, it is eaten among cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and bread in a traditional Turkish breakfast. It is also served in börek and pide, and also can accompany mezes with rakı.
Beyaz peynir comes in many forms. First, it can be either from a cow (inek), goat (keci), or sheep (koyun). It can come either hard (sert) or soft (yumuşak). You may also choose how much fat it contains, either full (tam yaglı) or half (yarim yaglı). It is also sold with or without salt. My favorite beyaz peynir is the goat version, but you should try all three to see which one you prefer!
For the best quality, you should purchase beyaz peynir at a weekly farmer’s market or at a cheese shop, where they are knowledgeable about the different types and regularly. You should ask for the beyaz peynir from Ezine, which is referred to as "Ezine peyniri." The best vendors will always offer you a small slice to taste. Don't be shy about sampling a few different versions before making your choice. This way, you will know you are buying the best one for your tastes. Buying cheese from a larger grocery store is always an option when the first two are not convenient; however, I would suggest going to the cheese counter for a fresh cut before buying a pre-packaged version.
For a simple recipe using this cheese, try this White cheese, Cucumber, & Tomato Sandwich (Beyaz Peynirli Sandviç)!