Buffalo mozzarella from Campania: "If you see milk dripping take it, otherwise leave it". This is the famous quote from "Misery and Nobility" to recognize real buffalo mozzarella. But are there really any criteria to be sure you are eating the authentic cheese that earned PDO certification on 12 June 1996? What territory is it produced in? What's its history? Is it true that it must be kept out of the fridge?
Precisely in the hottest season when there is a strong desire for cool, light lunches, let's try to clarify some things with this brief guide on Mozzarella di Bufala PDO.
The origins of Buffalo Mozzarella
The name derives from the act of "mozzatura" (cutting), the typical manual cut of string cheese made with the index finger and thumb. Bread and "mozza" was apparently the meal that the monks of the Monastery of San Lorenzo in Capua offered to pilgrims as early as the 12th century. But it was in 1570 that the term "mozzarella" appeared for the first time in a culinary writing by the papal chef Bartolomeo Scappi.
To find the origins of this particular mozzarella, we must instead identify the period when the buffalo first arrived in Italy, which some consider to be around the year 1000, brought by the Norman Kings, while others declare them as being a native Italian breed.
Buffalo mozzarella: the main ingredient!
Buffalo mozzarella from Campania is produced exclusively with fresh whole buffalo milk. Nothing else!
How you can recognize true buffalo mozzarella
The PDO area ofproduction of the buffalo mozzarella includes the Campania region with the provinces of Caserta and Salerno, lower Lazio (Latina, Frosinone and Roma), Puglia (Foggia) and Molise (Venafro).
Porcelain white with a very thin crust, and smooth surface that is never slimy or flaky.
It seems odd, but the buffalo mozzarella of Campania has a characteristic smell of musk and raw milk. A slight aroma of mushroom that combined with the freshness of milk will take you back to the territory of Campania.
Classic and delicate. A bit acidic at the beginning but creamy in the aftertaste.
With its thin leaf structure, buffalo mozzarella is slightly elastic in the first eight to ten hours after production and packaging, then becoming more solid without any holes. When cut it should produce a bit of white, fat serum with the smell of lactic ferments.
Buffalo mozzarella: Storage
Cold temperatures do not help your buffalo mozzarella. It is better to store it at room temperature for up to 4-5 days. It can stand up to our hot summers in the South so there's no need to worry!
A quote to conclude
"I am more and more convinced that mozzarella is something unique. It's not a side dish, it's not a first course, it's not a second course. It's a course all its own. For example, if we place it in the center surrounded by tomato, lettuce, basil (white, red and green) we have an Italian flag and it deserves to be considered a main dish". Claudio Bisio
So choose buffalo mozzarella. PDO!