A Guide to Mozzarella di Bufala
All about Mozzarella di Bufala
What comes to mind when you think of mozzarella? That perfect porcelain globe, that pristine white sphere that is so succulent and tasty, delicious in every way. However, the term ‘mozzarella’ is often abused and misused so read our guide to real mozzarella di bufala and find out why the real deal can be considered a luxury product.
Let’s start off by explaining what mozzarella is. Mozzarella di bufala is made with whole water buffalo milk, while mozzarella made from cows milk is called fior di latte (or simply labeled ‘mozzarella’ without the bufala). The term comes from the Neapolitan dialect word mozzare which means ‘to cut off’ because the stretched curd used to make this cheese is cut off by using the index finger and the thumb. This term first appeared in historical documents dating back to the 12th century.
How is mozzarella made?
It all starts off with pristine and healthy whole buffalo milk.
Natural whey (from the production of the previous day) is added to the milk and bought to a temperature of 33 – 39°C. Natural calf rennet is then added. This is when the magic begins.
Within minutes curds are formed. These cheesy lumps are broken down, with a special tool, until they are the size of a walnut. It is left to mature in its serum at a controlled temperature for some time. This is to allow it to reach the perfect PH level to then be kneaded.
Once the cheese-maker believes it is mature enough, he will start working on it. The fresh curd is chopped up and kneaded in hot salted water. Watching these masters at work, artfully creating their cheese, is a wonder to behold. Like magicians they pull, turn, knead, manipulate and shape the curd. Before you know it you have a juicy mozzarella appear in front of your very eyes. The entire procedure is mesmerizing!
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP can only be produced in 7 provinces of Central-Southern Italy (Caserta, Salerno, Naples, Frosinone, Rome, Latina, Apulia). It has held the status of a Protected Designation of Origin product (DOP) since 1996 under the European Union.
How to eat mozzarella
There are many ways to taste and enjoy mozzarella di bufala. With fresh tomatoes, a drop of extra virgin olive oil, a few leaves of basil, salty prosciutto crudo, or even shredded on pizza. However, nothing can compare to eating a genuine, fresh, mozzarella di bufala on its own to fully appreciate the flavor and texture.