Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mozzarella di Bufala – Fact and Fiction

Mozzarella can be found in many forms but rarely tastes the same as the Mozzarella found in Italy. There are many reasons. The first is that Mozzarella di Bufala is made from the milk of the Water Buffalo. Another reason is that Mozzarella is a fresh cheese, which means it should be consumed within days of production. Another point in case is that Mozzarella must remain in the serum until it is consumed. All of these basic requirements make Mozzarella an unlikely candidate for mass production and distribution.

This does not mean that the products named Mozzarella are not good cheeses, simply that they are not Mozzarella. In Italy, where false advertising is a felony and the naming of products is controlled by legislation, the products that do not meet the basic requirements are called string cheese, mozzari, or by some other similar imaginative name.

Mozzarella di Bufala has antique origins. First found in official documentation in 1570. The word Mozzarella derives from the base word Mozzare or to cut off by pinching between the index finger and the thumb. This term comes from the process of production. Once the cheese ball has formed the artisan pinches a small amount of cheese from the ball, thus Mozzarella.

The Buffalo were originally used for heavy farm work much like the Ox in US history. The farmers believed it was a waste to not use the Buffalo milk but Buffalo milk is very hard to digest. The production process of Mozzarella was designed to tone down the strong flavor of Buffalo milk. The resulting process makes Mozzarella type cheeses made from cow’s milk practically tasteless. The serum is a mixture of the residual whey and brine. The Mozzarella ball absorbs some salt from the brine stopping the fermentation and allowing the product to remain fresh for several days.

Mozzarella di Bufala is an important ingredient in many recipes but for Caprese and Pizza it is a basic element. When Mozzarella is a basic ingredient it is important to use the real stuff but that can be difficult in the US. We have found one producer who makes real Mozzarella di Bufala and this product can be found, here in Dallas, at Central Market. It will cost twice as much as the industrial string cheese but is well worth the price. The product may also be ordered online directly from the producer Bubalis Bubalis, Inc.


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Blogger moderator said...

There is a little Italian market I go to that gets fresh Mozzarella, which I buy in the summer to put with tomatoes and basil. It is probably not as good as the real thing, but it is definitely superior to any supermarket "mozzerella." And it does come in a little tub with the liquid. Now I can't wait for those tomatoes to come in!

6:32 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Diva - To think, it is better, cheaper (even using the highest priced mozzarella), and quicker than fast foods, but how many will actually prepare something like this?

The Divas wrote a great article about the transfat issues.

6:16 AM

Blogger a.c.t. said...

In the UK the mozzarella is made by Galbani, wouldn't that be the real thing?

10:06 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

ACT - Galbani is a large industrial production company in Italy. If the product specifically states that is Mozzarella di Bufala and in the ingredients they do not list cow's milk then it should be pretty good. I do not know what the "truth in labelling and advertising" laws are in the UK but here in the US calling it Mozzarella di Bufala would not be sufficient to determine that it actually is made with Water Buffalo milk.

Many Italian producers make one product for the Italian market and a different one to be exported.

So it is important to read the ingredients.

11:04 AM


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