More on Mozzerella

14 06 2009

More mozzarella in the house this weekend.  Warm and fresh.  A little on crumbled polenta in my breakfast dish.  A nibble in the afternoon from my Contessa’s hand.

Some mozzarella facts:

Do not put fresh mozzarella made from unpasteurized buffalo milk in the refrigerator. Buffalo balls by korayatasoyIt is best at room temperature and should be eaten within two days of production. If you haven’t had mozzarella this fresh, you haven’t had true mozzarella.  Purists eat their mozzarella without accompaniment.  Caserta, Ristorante la Nuova Perla by wineprincess44

My advice: Go to Italy, Campania specifically.  Bufala mozzarella farm by stephen sommerhalter

It is mozzarella’s Mecca.

Signs for dairy outlets along the highways in the Naples area are common. Some sell excellent mozzarella. If you always want the real thing, look for caseificios bearing the Denominazione d’Origine Protetta, or DOP seal, a European Union certification that guarantees top-quality Campania mozzarella.Mozzarella di bufala DOP by Flyingmozzarella

Last year, 32,000 tons of DOP mozzarella were produced in Campania.  Only 16 percent was exported. The very finest DOP cheese never leaves the region because it is made from unpasteurized milk and has a shelf life of only a few days.

Make sure you’re eating the best.  It’s easy to spot the difference between handmade mozzarella and machine-produced cheese. Each artisanal ball has a Y-shaped flap marking the place where it was seamed by the cheese maker, or “casaro.” by winyang

Ricotta cheese is made from a milky mozzarella by product. Here in Italy, ricotta is served for dessert surrounded by honey, orange peel, cinnamon and other condiments. It’s a wonderful summer treat.ricotta pear honey tastyness by grrrlie

If you’re doing a high-protein diet (my favorite), a one-cup serving of the cheese is loaded with protein and has virtually no carbohydrates. Of course, it also has 336 calories, 220 of them from fat.  But, fat is good for the brain, no?

And eating the cheese promotes intelligence and good looks.  Just look at the Italians…

sofia_loren_pirelli by rosalia89Gina Lolabrigida sips a milkshake by Jeff Houck


Mozzarella in May

23 05 2009

 Mozzarella cheese. (dy1) There’s nothing like mozzarella cheese, especially when it comes in spring.  Fresh on the heels of calving, mozzarella in May is glorious. 

The Italian buffalo is a huge, red-eyed beast which lumbers across the grassy hillsides and wallows in the cool mud-streams along the valleys.  True mozzarella comes from Italy’s Campania region.  Naples is it’s center.  The mozzarella dairy, or caseificio, La Fenice, near Presenzano, is one of our favorite haunts for fresh cheese.

We drive about an hour south of Rome and in we walk.  The smell of buffalo hangs like overripe raw meat in the yard outsidePaestum buffalo's - and do they make great mozzerella! by rubinsteins_in_spainbut inside the dairy is immaculate.  The centerpiece is a large, shallow vat with a hundred white balls of mozzarella bobbing like tennis balls in the milky water.  The finished product, room-temperature and gooey heaven.

A man in the back room is beginning a new batch.  I watch as buffalo milk is brought in and curdled.  The whey is separated and the curd is ground in a mill, then molded and placed in hot water, stirred and kneaded like bread until it is smooth and shiny.  Then, small pieces are pulled away and formed into balls and brined for a short time.  Mozzarella made in the morning is ready by dinner time.  Warm, soft, rich and fresh.

Sure, it’s good with tomatoes and basil and a drizzle of balsamicMaking pizza by borud; tossed with pasta and tomato sauce; on any thin crust pizzaHomemade Pizza - Making of a Dough God by Bumbling B.

But there is nothing like true, fresh, still-warm mozzarella, hand held by the one you love, melting on your tongue and into your memory as spring fades into summer.


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