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.

Chow.

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A Vineyard Tale

15 05 2009

Vineyard time! 

Spring has sprung and there are new, tender leaves on the vines.  My people and I were off to the south this week, and the lush, volcanic hills, about an hour from Naples and Mount Vesuvius.

Feudi di San Gregorio is a noted winery that produces wine from the ancient indigenous grape varieties of the region.

Some was spilled, as is the case at every tasting.  Enough for a small dog swilled from the glass and was very much appreciated. 

My pronouncement?

A wine of golden color, pear and citrus on the nose…my nose.   Fresh and dry on the tongue, with a crisp mineral finish.  Perfect for the coming hot weather.

Ahhh, to be a dog in Italy with summer on the way.Dog Days of Summer by MeadauraChow.








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