Mozzarella is one of the best known and most appreciated Italian cheeses in the world.
Few people know the story behind its creation, which, like many Italian gastronomic specialities, is rooted in the years.
This cheese is, in fact, the result of an ancient process, which originated in southern Italy in the remote Middle Ages.
At that time, a small amount of rennet was heated to a high temperature to recover milk that was in a bad condition, thus obtaining long filaments, with a consistency very similar to plastic, and once cut (‘mozzati’), they were twisted into ovules of different sizes. Thus ‘mozzarella’ with its ovoidal shape was born.
Interestingly, the article in Cuciniamo Italy, reveals that there are different types of mozzarella, which differ depending on the ingredients used.
For example, one of the best known is ‘bufala’, linked to the story of the monks of San Lorenzo di Capua, who offered travelling pilgrims a piece of bread with fresh cheese made from buffalo milk.
Instead, the ‘burrata’, typical of Andria (Apulia), has more recent origins and dates to the last century. Burrata was born out of the need to use the excess cream obtained from milk to create a fresh finished product. So, the Bianchino brothers mixed spun curd casings (the mozzarella process) with cream to obtain what is now called ‘burrata’.
Mozzarella is a product that can definitely be said to have originated in Italy, but it is also being produced abroad. So, Cuciniamo Italy explains how to recognise a ‘Made in Italy’ product from one that is not. Very important are the labels and the DOP and IGP designations on the packaging, which certify the origin.
Generally, mozzarellas produced outside Italian borders have the SGT designation for products whose ingredients, processes or transformation are traditional.
RECIPE WITH MOZZARELLA
Especially in summer, mozzarella is the star of recipes. In many Italian summer dishes, but not only, mozzarella is a frequently appearing ingredient. Thanks to its freshness and authenticity, it lends summer lunches or dinners a holiday and carefree allure.
There are many ways in which it can be enjoyed. Fresh, it can be eaten as an accompaniment to a salad, ham, or vegetables, or even stringy in a pasta dish or baked pasta.
One of the Italians’ favourite summer recipes is undoubtedly the ‘caprese’, named after the island of Capri. A tasty and easy-to-prepare dish, it features buffalo mozzarella (or fior di latte) combined with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and oregano, all seasoned with salt and extra virgin olive oil.
Easy to prepare and certainly beautiful is chef Walter Zanoni’s version of the caprese ‘Burrata e pomodorini in bicchiere’ (cherry tomatoes and burrata in a glass).
On Cuciniamo Italy you can find the procedure for a dish that will impress your guests and your palate.
And if you would also like to taste a good chilled wine to accompany this cheese, follow sommelier Giordana Talamona in this Cuciniamo Italy Reel.
(PS. Giordana has her very own wine column on Cuciniamo Italy… Check it out!)