The history and characteristics of an excellent Italian gastronomic product
We should immediately point out that for purists, true mozzarella is only made with water buffalo's milk, whereas the mozzarella made with cow’s milk is otherwise called fior di latte mozzarella.Mozzarella di bufala (or buffalo mozzarella) from Campania is made according to strict production rules that comply with procedures fine-tuned by the Consorzio di Tutela (Consortium for the Protection of buffalo mozzarella). Founded in 1981, it is the only institution recognized by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to protect, monitor, valorize and promote mozzarella di bufala DOP from Campania. Thanks to the Consortium, the buffalo mozzarella from Campania was the only one of its kind to obtain European DOP recognition. The production procedures envisage solely the use of whole buffalo milk (in addition to rennet and salt), which has a much higher protein, fat and mineral salt content as compared to mozzarella made with cow’s milk. About 4 liters of milk are required to make 1 kg of mozzarella. This is why the product undergoes several inspections, from breeding the buffalo to selling the product to the consumer. In fact, only the dairies that pass a demanding certification process obtain the DOP seal. These companies are then constantly monitored through analyses to ensure they comply with the high-quality standards of the product sold.This is a classic stretched-curd cheese obtained with whole milk and worked into a globe form of varying size and weight. The so-called bocconcino weighs about 50 g, while true mozzarella can weigh between 250 to 500 g. Another type of manual processing involves plaiting or knotting the mozzarella, which however has to respect the weight indicated by the Consortium and to weigh under 800 g. If it weighs more than this, it cannot be called buffalo mozzarella of Campania, but rather is referred to as buffalo cheese. The product is packaged in cream or preserving liquid to ensure increased freshness. One production type calls for wrapping the mozzarella in myrtle leaves, an ancient system once used for packaging and transporting the cheese. The supple branches of the plant that cover the cheese give it a distinctive scent of myrtle.The production area extends from southern Lazio to the northern part of Campania, and some areas of Apulia. 58% is produced in the provinces of Caserta and Napoli, 34% in Salerno, 7% in southern Lazio and 1% in Foggia and Venafro.INTERESTING FACTS
The term mozzarella comes from the Italian word mozzare, that is to manually cut off the stretched curd using the index finger and thumb. The first historic documents on the term mozzarella date back to the 12th century and testify to the habit of the monks in the Monastery of San Lorenzo in Capua offer pilgrims a cheese called mozza or provatura (when smoked) accompanied by a piece of bread.Nutrition facts
Mozzarella di bufala is particularly nutritious (288 kcal/100 g) due to the presence of 17g of protein and 24g of fat (especially unsaturated fatty acids and short-chain fatty acids). Its cholesterol content does not exceed 50-60 mg, and it contains very little lactose: 0.4 g. DOP buffalo mozzarella of Campania has fewer calories than other cheese.
How to recognize and store it
In stores: Only a packaged product (bags, trays, cups, etc.) bearing the seal (with legal indications in the lower section) and indicating the term Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (buffalo mozzarella of Campania) followed by Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin).On the table: It should be porcelain-white in colour, with a smooth surface, elastic consistency and whitish whey should flow when it is cut. It’s flavour is decisive but delicate. We recommend eating it the same day it’s purchased or storing it - in its preserving liquid - in a cool environment (10° - 17° C). If you store it in the refrigerator, remove it long before serving in order to eat it at room temperature.
Buffalo mozzarella from Campania is the most important DOP brand in central-southern Italy. 37,500,000 kg were produced in 2011 (+1.30% as compared to 201, which was a record year). 25% of this figure is exported (+5% as compared to 2010), mainly to France, Germany, the United States, Great Britain, Switzerland and Japan. There was a leap in production revenue in 2011 which increased from Euro 306 million to about Euro 320 million (+4.5%).
The best way to enhance its characteristics is to eat it plain, or accompanied by a salad or tomatoes (so-called caprese), but also combined with cured ham (Italian appetizer) or white melon.
It’s excellent when diced and added (raw) to pasta salads. If it has to be cooked, then pizza is its most traditional use.