Chic Eats: Grilled Haloumi Cheese with Poached Cherries

Chic Eats: Grilled Haloumi Cheese with Poached Cherries
Tempt your taste buds and treat yourself to this fabulous wine and cheese pairing. Our Chic Chef shows you how to enjoy a little culinary splurge.

Every once in a while, you have to treat yourself to a few indulgences — a weekend spa getaway, a gourmet meal in the comfort of your own home or a good bottle of wine. Well, two out of three isn't bad. Grilled Haloumi Cheese with Poached Cherries paired with Chateauneuf du Pape is a luxurious, but affordable, culinary splurge.


Haloumi (hah-LOO-me) is a unique cheese native to the island of Cyprus. Because haloumi has a higher-than-normal melting point, the cheese is able to be fried or grilled without losing its texture or melting through the grill. Grilling the cheese imparts a smoky flavor and creates a crackly crust around a smooth creamy interior.


With its wonderfully salty flavor, haloumi pairs well with sweeter foods like sweet/savory poached cherries. At around $16 per pound, haloumi may not be an everyday cheese, but it is definitely worth every penny.


The name Chateauneuf du Pape (shah-toh-noof-d≈´-POP) brings back memories of wine studies in my culinary school days. The Wines course was an extensive study of wines of the major regions of the world and naturally included tastings. I tasted many wonderful wines during the intensive course, but Chateauneuf du Papes, from the Southern Rhone region in France, were among the wines we students spoke of with awe in our voices and dreamy looks in our eyes.


Literally translated as "new castle of the pope," the wine is named for the papal home built in the region in the 1300s. Many of the red wines from this region are predominantly made from the Grenache grape but can include upwards of thirteen grape varietals. The 2007 red Chateauneuf du Pape is available in full bottles for around $75 to $100, and half bottles (my choice) can be purchased for around $30 in some specialty or gourmet markets.


This well-balanced red is full-bodied but will not overpower the haloumi, and the fruit notes in the wine balance the smokiness of the grilled cheese while complementing the poached cherries. Serve the haloumi drizzled with the poached cherries and a few slices of crusty French bread.


Grilled Haloumi with Poached Cherry Compote


For the Cheese



  • 1/2 pound haloumi cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper





  • Heat a gas grill or indoor grill over moderately high heat.
  • Slice the cheese diagonally. Then slice the triangles into 1/3-inch thick slices.
  • Brush with the cheese and grill with oil.
  • Grill the slices until they have deep golden brown grill marks (one and a half to two minutes), flip using a thin metal spatula and repeat.
  • Drizzle the slices with the poached cherries and serve immediately.



For the Poached Cherries




  • 1 pound fresh cherries

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced shallot

  • 1/8 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 cup kirsch

  • Pinch salt





  • Halve cherries and remove pits using the tip of a small knife.

  • Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

  • Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. 

Photo courtesy of VendiRei Jones
VendiRei Jones -

VendiRei Jones is the chef/owner of Torta, a licensed home bakery specializing in sweet and savory tarts. E-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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