Htipiti, Kopanisti, Tirokafteri

Htipiti, Kopanisti, TirokafteriHtipiti, Kopanisti, Tirokafteri

Htipiti, Kopanisti, and Tirokafteri

From left to right: Htipiti, Kopanisti, Tirokafteri

I know those words are each a mouthful.
χτυπητή: htee-pee-tee or ktee-pee-tee (also written as ktipiti or ctipiti)
Κοπανιστή: cop-en-es-tee
τυροκαυτερή: teer-oh-kaaf-tehr-ee.
Not so bad, eh?

Each being Greek, the last of these translates as ‘Spicy Cheese’ from tiri for cheese and kafteri for spicy, while kopanisti is used to describe something that has been beaten. Not that I am in any way an expert, but from what I understand either of these three could obviously be referred to as tirokafteri since they are each spicy cheese dips in their own right, and in-fact each are ‘beaten,’ however it seems that the specific additions to the base of feta and olive oil are what make the separate names so common.

Here is a general breakdown of the ingredients you might find included when looking up either of these cheese spreads specifically:

  • tirokafteri – feta, olive oil, red wine vinegar, chopped chilies or red pepper flakes, oregano, and often times a little yogurt or whole milk
  • htipiti – feta, olive oil, red wine vinegar, roasted red bell peppers, shallots, garlic, chilies, and oregano
  • kopanisti – feta, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, pepperoncinis, and garlic, with optional red pepper flakes

Interestingly there is also a stand-alone cheese, Κοπανιστή Μυκόνου (Kopanisti Mykonou), made on the Cycladic island of Mykonos, commonly referred to as “Greek Roquefort” for it’s special hot taste which comes from the growth of a particular fungus and the introduction of hot chilies. It is often served with a dry bread, chopped tomatoes, and olive oil.

Serving suggestions for either of these may be as simple as a dish of dip with your favorite vegetables on the side, or you can serve it as part of a mezze with warm slices of pita aside a crudité platter of radishes, cucumber, olives, carrots, tomatoes and any other favorites, or perhaps sliced salami, pastrami, and pepperoni. Drinking ouzo would certainly make your feasting experience complete!

Although Greece is very well known for their ‘mother sauce’ tzatziki, it is said that tirokafteri is right behind it, showing up at nearly every gathering. Salty, creamy, and just the right amount of heat makes this dip a favorite for everyone from children to Great Grandma. Try your favorite from the three below or bring them all and you’re sure to please the crowd!

Tirokafteri – Mildly Spicy Feta Cheese Dip
Tirokafteri - Greek Feta Cheese Dip


Kopanisti – Feta Cheese Dip with Pepperoncinis
Kopanisti Feta Dip with Pepperoncinis


Htipiti – Feta Cheese Dip with Roasted Red Peppers
Htipiti - Feta and Red Pepper Dip


And, if you are looking for some fun, easy listening, Greek music for your dinner party try this:

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