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The White Queen From Italy

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Meet the Queen of Italian Cheese: Mozzarella di Bufala!

Did you know we have a queen in Italy? She’s white, fresh, milky, and adored by many Italians. She loves to be surrounded by tomatoes, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. When nestled on a pizza, she melts away into pure bliss. Her name?

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Her Royal Highness, Mozzarella di Bufala! This queen of Italian cheese is made from the prized milk of the water buffalo in southern Italy. We’ve invited a professional cheese taster to tell us all about this regal delight.

What Is Mozzarella di Bufala Used For?

First things first, technically the word mozzarella should only refer to buffalo mozzarella. Regular mozzarella made from cow’s milk is called fior di latte“(flower of milk). However, mozzarella is often used as a blanket term for both types, with buffalo mozzarella specifically labeled as mozzarella di bufala.

In Italy, buffalo mozzarella graces many dishes. It can be served fresh with tomatoes in a caprese salad, paired with cured prosciutto, cooked in eggplant parmigiana, used as a pizza topping, or even sandwiched and fried in the traditional “mozzarella in carrozza.”

Buffalo mozzarella holds DOP classification (Protected Designation of Origin), ensuring the product is genuine, of high quality, and produced in a specific geographical area. This certification also acknowledges the skill of local producers, preserving these traditions for future generations. Buffalo mozzarella is predominantly produced in Campania but also in parts of Lazio, Molise, and Puglia.

What Is Mozzarella di Bufala?

Buffalo milk, rich in casein (a milk protein), is difficult to digest in its raw form and is not consumed as a beverage in Italy. However, it is used to make delicious dairy products such as mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, yogurt, and even gelato.

Buffalo mozzarella is more flavorful and succulent compared to cow milk mozzarella, which has a milder taste and springier texture. Both types are made using the pasta filata (stretched curd) method. The cheese is stretched before being cut into pieces. The process of cutting the cheese is called mozzatura, from the verb mozzare, which means to lop off or chop off—hence the name “mozzarella.”

Mozzarella di bufala can take various forms, from large balls to small bocconcini (mouthfuls), little knots called nodini, or even large plaited forms called trecce.

Recipes and Our Online Cooking School

Buffalo mozzarella’s unique taste and consistency make it a versatile ingredient that enhances any dish. Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP is famously used to make authentic Pizza Napoletana STG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed).

To truly savor mozzarella di bufala, try it fresh in a simple caprese salad. Layer slices of ripe, juicy tomato with pieces of mozzarella, top with fresh basil leaves, drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil, and add a little pepper if desired. Serve with plenty of bread to soak up the delicious juices for a true taste of Italian summer.

When serving mozzarella fresh, take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes beforehand to bring it to room temperature. This ensures it is perfectly flavorsome and juicy. Store buffalo mozzarella in the fridge covered in its own liquid to prevent it from drying out. Remember, good mozzarella should be so moist that it “cries”; the fresher you eat it, the better it tastes.

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