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Mozzarella, the art of pasta filata from Campania
As soon as we hear the words ‘PDO Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania’, our mouths immediately start watering. This stretched-curd cheese is a gem of our cheesemaking tradition, as well as the most important PDO label of Southern Italy.
The statistics speak for themselves: more than 500 million kilos of Mozzarella cheeses are made each year, with the turnover constantly increasing – buffalo Mozzarella is a driver of the whole Italian cheesemaking industry. It is also a leading export product, especially to Germany, France and the UK.
And to think that buffalo Mozzarella was actually considered a by-product back in the day! That’s true: since it is quickly perishable, it could go as far as the local market. Therefore, while aged and smoked cheeses started to gain renown, the fame of buffalo Mozzarella was limited to its areas of production.
In the area next to Salerno, the first buffalo dairies were founded in the late Middle Ages. However, until the mid-20th century, buffalos were used for their incredible strength, rather than for their precious milk. As a matter of fact, farmers used them to plough the fields and would rear them in the semi-wild state.
Nowadays, we know how precious buffalo milk is. And we also know how delicious cheeses from buffalo milk are. Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania obtained the PDO label in 1996 thanks to its incredible sensory features and taste characteristics.
Milk used to make this cheese must be sourced from farms located in the certified area and must be processed according to the region’s traditional methods. When a product tastes this incredible, the least one can do is protecting it as much as possible.
Buffalo VS cow: the ultimate milk battle
Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania is the only Mozzarella in the world to have ever obtained the PDO label. Cow’s milk Mozzarella is not PDO certified. Why is buffalo Mozzarella so special? And how come it is so delicious?
It is a matter of milk quality. Buffalo’s milk is richer in protein, fat and calcium than cow’s milk. Cow’s milk contains more water, while buffalo’s milk is thicker and more concentrated, even as far as the flavour is concerned.
In any case, a good milk requires a healthy animal. A high-quality milk implies a perfectly healthy buffalo whose welfare is a priority for the dairy.
We at Italy Bite have selected a PDO buffalo Mozzarella from Campania by a special company, where animal welfare is the highest priority: it is the Azienda Agricola Tempio farm, located in the plain of the temples of Paestum.
To make their Mozzarella cheeses, these cheesemakers only use the milk of their own buffalos; these buffalos often undergo veterinary checks, live in big and comfortable facilities and are milked employing cutting-edge techniques.
Furthermore, the Azienda Agricola Tempio farm makes incredible cheeses that respect the breath-taking environment in which it is located. They produce electricity by using biogas made from sewage sludge, and their soil fertilisation is fully natural and organic.
How is buffalo Mozzarella made?
Let’s get something straight: making PDO buffalo Mozzarella from Campania is an art. We could tell you all about each production step, but the best thing to do to understand what we are talking about is actually eating a nice Mozzarella cheese.
To make buffalo Mozzarella, we start from the curd, like with any cheese. When rennet has been added and the milk has curdled, the curd is broken, cut and left to drain on a steel table.
When the curd has “ripened”, the magic happens. The curd is placed in a basin and boiling water is poured. Cheesemakers start to knead it with a wooden stick. When the cheese paste forms long strings when stretched and becomes glossy and perfectly homogenous, it has reached the perfect point of elasticity.
The most beautiful step begins here. Cheesemakers knead by hand the pasta filata or stretched curd and tear it by hand, cutting it into big or small pieces depending on the Mozzarella shape. Mozzarella cheeses are then plunged into a water and salt brine and are ready to be packaged.
It may seem easy, but the manual skills of the cheesemakers are a key success factor of the PDO buffalo Mozzarella cheese from Campania. As we have mentioned, the milk quality is fundamental, but so is the role of the artisan cheesemaker!
How to serve it
You can serve it whichever way you like! It is a must with tomatoes, but it also tastes exceptional with ham, with any vegetable and torn into pieces on pasta dishes. Which is my favourite recipe, you ask? Take a plate, a fork and a knife, take a half-kilo PDO buffalo Mozzarella from Campania and enjoy. You don’t even need to season it with salt or oil.
The only golden rule that should never be broken is the serving temperature. Never serve a PDO buffalo Mozzarella from Campania straight out of the fridge. You are about to eat one of the most exceptional products in the world, treat it accordingly!
PDO buffalo Mozzarella from Campania is so delicious that it is impossible to describe it with words. Think of the velvety softness of milk, the enveloping embrace of its flavour, an explosion of deliciousness. And that’s not even close to the real experience. The only thing you can do is taste it. What are you waiting for?