Buffalo Mozzarella: history, information, interesting facts


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Buffalo Mozzarella: history, information, interesting facts

THE HISTORY OF BUFFALO MOZZARELLA FROM CAMPANIA, INFO AND INTERESTING FACTS. LET’FIND OUT HOW IT’S MADE. LET’S SAVOR ITS CHARM BY VISITING ITS PLACES, MEETING ITS PEOPLE AND LISTENING TO ITS MUSIC. LET’S ENJOY ITS AUTHENTIC FLAVOR THANKS TO ITS MOST TRADITIONAL PRODUCERS.

Buffalo Mozzarella is one of the most typical products from the Italian region of Campania: this cheese has a flavor so unique to deserve the nickname ‘white gold’. Let’s deepen the knowledge of this specialty, finding out how it’s made and many interesting facts. Let’s savor its authentic taste, taking advantage of the precious help of its most traditional producers, associated in the Consortium for the Protection of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO.


Buffalo Mozzarella: white gold from Italy (crt-01)

What is Buffalo Mozzarella?

Buffalo Mozzarella is a kind of cheese produced, as it’s easy to understand from the name, with buffalo milk: it’s quite different from ‘Fior di Latte’, another type of mozzarella which is made with cow’s milk instead. Originally from the Campania region (located in Southern Italy), this famous specialty belongs to the category of stretch-curd cheeses (formmaggi a ‘pasta filata’), prepared by heating the curd which, this way, becomes elastic. This allows the cheesemaker to process it, adjusting the shape and size of the paste. Although it’s available in different shapes, the most classic Buffalo Mozzarella is round, boasting an inviting white color. To fully understand the value of this culinary masterpiece, it’s necessary to bite it: this causes a large quantity of milk to spill, generating an explosion of flavor in the mouth.

The history of Buffalo Mozzarella.

The origins of Buffalo Mozzarella are tied to a distant past: although there is no certainty, many scholars trace them back to the Middle Ages, a period in which the Arabs (followed by the Normans), would have introduced the breeding of buffaloes in southern Italy.
Opera di Bartolomeo Scappi, Mastro dell'Arte del Cucinare, 1570 (img-01) The oldest documents where it’s possible to find an explicit reference to this specialty (*1) are from the XII century and consist in some notes in which the friars of the Monastery of San Lorenzo a Capua mention it using the names ‘Mozza’ and ‘Provatura’ (*2).
The first ‘bufalare’ were built in the fifteenth century: brick buildings, dairies ante litteram, destined just to buffalo milk processing.
The earliest evidence of the use of the word ‘mozzarella’ dates back to 1570 and can be found in a cookbook written by the cook of Pope Pius V, Bartolomeo Scappi.
In the 18th century, the Bourbon royal family (*3) promoted the breeding of buffaloes in the province of Caserta: this decision greatly influenced the spreading and the success of the cheese, starting from the rich markets of the city of Naples and Salerno.
On June 12, 1996, the assignment of the prestigious Protected Origin Mark (D.O.P.) by Europe, marked the definitive consecration of the qualities of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana.

Notes:
*1: Or to a very similar specialty.
*2: The name ‘Provatura’ was used for the smoked type.
*3: Sovereigns of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.


Old print of grazing buffalos (crt-01)

Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO: the production areas.

Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO: the production areas.

As indicated by the name itself, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP is a dairy specialty typical from the Italian Region of Campania: not by chance, a great part of its production takes place in the provinces of:
Naples;
Caserta;
Salerno;
Benevento;
The PDO policy document admits some exceptions, namely the provinces of Latina, Frosinone and Rome (in the region of Lazio), that of Venafro (in the region of Molise) and that of Foggia (in the region of Apulia).

How Buffalo Mozzarella cheese is made.

Here follows a list of the steps necessary for the production of Buffalo Mozzarella (Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO). In this regard, it should be remembered that a very similar procedure is also used for the other type of Mozzarella, the ‘Fior di Latte’.


Fresh buffalo milk is poured into special boilers (crt-01) Fresh buffalo milk is poured into special boilers (crt-01)

01. Fresh buffalo milk is transported to the dairy and stored in steel silos, from which it is later poured into special boilers.


The milk is gradually heated (crt-01) The milk is gradually heated (crt-01)

02. Using these steel boilers, the milk is gradually heated to a temperature that can vary from 33°C to 39°C.


Formation of the ‘curd’ (crt-01) Formation of the ‘curd’ (crt-01)

03. Natural calf rennet and whey graft are added to the milk: this leads to its coagulation and the formation of the ‘curd’.


The curd is broken (crt-01) The curd is broken (crt-01)

04. The curd is broken into pieces not greater than a walnut. The liquid part (‘whey’) will be used for the production of Buffalo Ricotta.


The curd is cut into strips, chopped and placed in special containers (crt-01) The curd is cut into strips, chopped and placed in special containers (crt-01)

05. The curd acidifies in the whey for a few hours (‘maturation’). It’s then cut into strips, chopped and placed in special containers (known as ‘filatrici’, ‘spinners’).


‘Filatura’, ‘spinning’ (crt-01) ‘Filatura’, ‘spinning’ (crt-01)

06. Boiling water at 100 ° C is poured into the spinners. Their content is then mixed with a stick, leading to the formation of a uniform paste (‘filatura’, ‘spinning’).


‘Formatura’ and ‘Mozzatura’ (crt-01) ‘Formatura’ and ‘Mozzatura’ (crt-01)

07. Morrarella takes shape through the ‘formatura’: a procedure carried out by hand or by machine. The ‘mozzatura’ occurs when the dough, subjected to traction, is ‘mozzata’ (‘torn’).


‘Salatura’, ‘salting’ (crt-01) ‘Salatura’, ‘salting’ (crt-01)

08. The pieces of Mozzarella are then placed into special tanks filled with water, inside which they cool and harden. The final step is the ‘salatura’ (‘salting’).

The shapes and types of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO.

Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO is produced and marketed in different shapes:



01. ‘Perline’, ‘Ciliegini’ and ‘Bocconcini’: rounded Mozzarellas of varying dimensions and weight. The latter can exceed half a kilo in the case of Mozzarella from Aversa (‘Mozzarella Aversana’).
02. ‘Nodini’ and ‘Treccia’: braided Mozzarella, whose weight can reach three kilos;
The color of this cheese is milky white, its skin is thin and smooth.

‘Smoked Mozzarella’ (Mozzarella Affumicata) (crt-01) ‘Smoked Mozzarella’ is characterized by the smoking process that strongly affects its flavor: this consists in exposing the cheese to the smoke produced by burning straw or laurel.
The shape of this type of Mozzarella is round, its skin is thin, the external color is brown/amber, while the inside is white.

The buffalos of Buffalo Mozzarella.

The buffalos of Buffalo Mozzarella (crt-01)

A great part of the incredible taste of Buffalo Mozzarella derives from the buffalo milk used in its preparation. The Italian/Mediterranean buffalo is a type of bovine that differs quite a lot (also genetically), from the other types of the same race: it has a massive build, with short and dark hair. Many scientists trace the beginning of its breeding back to the Middle Ages, others even to Roman times. The milk of this animal is used to make not only Mozzarella but also many other dairy specialties, such as ‘Scamorza’, ‘Burrata’, ‘Ricotta’ and ‘Stracchino’.

The differences between Buffalo Mozzarella and ‘Fior di Latte’.

Mozzarella di bufala.

The main difference between Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO and ‘Fior di Latte’ (*1), lies in the type of milk used for the production of these cheeses. To prepare the first, as it’s easy to understand from the name, buffalo milk is used, while the other is made with cow’s milk.
Although the manufacturing method for both dairy specialties is almost identical, the difference in the main ingredient affects:

The taste: Buffalo Mozzarella is fatter and has a more intense flavor, characterized by a pleasant acidity.
The color: Buffalo Mozzarella is generally whiter.
The consistency: Buffalo Mozzarella is more elastic.
It should also be noted that, when cut, Buffalo Mozzarella releases a greater quantity of liquid (basically, milk) than the Fior di Latte.

Note:
*1: ‘Fior di Latte’ cheese, simply known as ‘Mozzarella’, can boast the STG (Traditional Specialty Guaranteed) certification. As for the name, it should be noted that, especially in the Italian region of Campania, the term ‘Mozzarella’ is also used for Buffalo Mozzarella.


The milk of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO.

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The most traditional specialties and their historic producers.

Mozzarella: stretched curd cheese.

Caciocavallo di bufala 24 mesi.

Stretch-curd cheeses (in Italian, ‘a pasta filata’), originating in southern Italy, are produced with a technique that involves heating the curd with boiling water: this makes it compact and elastic, therefore suitable to be worked by hand or with a specific machine. The processing consists of stretching the dough (an operation known as ‘filatura’, ‘spinning’), giving it different shapes.
Stretch-curd cheeses can be fresh (like ‘mozzarella’), semi-hard (like ‘scamorza’) and hard (like ‘provoloni’ and ‘caciocavalli’). The procedure for the preparation of semi-hard and hard cheeses differs from that used for the fresh type, in that the curd is broken into smaller fragments and heated at higher temperatures.

The origin of the name ‘Mozzarella’.

The term ‘mozzarella’ derives from the Italian verb ‘mozzare’ (‘to tear‘), referring to the method used by the cheesemakers to cut the cheese dough into portions of various shapes and sizes. Not surprisingly, the earliest written records about this specialty, dating back to the 12th century (*1), use for it the name ‘Mozza’.
The word, as we know it today, appeared for the first time in 1570, in a cookbook (*2) by Bartolomeo Scappi, who wrote:
Bartolomeo Scappi (img-02) The word, as we know it today, appeared for the first time in 1570, in a cookbook (*2) by Bartolomeo Scappi, who wrote:

“La Primauera, l’Estate, l’Autunno, di giuncate, capi di latte, butiro fresco, ricotte fiorite, mozzarelle fresche, et neue di latte”.

“During Spring, Summer and Autumn: cheese, milk, fresh butter, ricotta, fresh mozzarella and cottage cheese”.

Notes:
*1: These records consist of annotations written by the friars of the Monastery of Saint Lawrence in Capua.
*2: ‘Opera di M. Bartolomeo Scappi, Cvuoco secreto di Papa Pio V, divisa in sei libri’ by Bartolomeo Scappi, chef of the papal court.


‘Taverna’: the ancient Buffalo Mozzarella market (crt-01) ‘Taverna’: the ancient Buffalo Mozzarella market (crt-01)

‘Taverna’: the ancient Buffalo Mozzarella market.

One of the first signs of the great commercial success of Buffalo Mozzarella was the birth of the ‘Taverna’: a real wholesale market, dedicated to this product and, more in general, to all the dairy specialties made with buffalo milk.
The Taverna was founded immediately after the unification of Italy in the small town of Aversa, in the province of Caserta: in addition to being a large collecting and sorting center, it became the place where, like in a modern stock exchange, the price of this cheese was determined according to the demand.


Totò in ‘Poverty and Nobility’ (img-03) Totò in ‘Poverty and Nobility’ (img-03)

Buffalo Mozzarella in the movies.

Buffalo Mozzarella is mentioned in many movies: one of the most famous examples is the Italian comedy film ‘Poverty and Nobility’ (‘Miseria e Nobiltà’), directed in 1954 by Mario Mattoli, in which one of the main characters invites Don Felice Sciosciammocca (played by Totò) to check the actual quality of Mozzarella by using this effective method:

“Ti fai dare mezzo chilo di mozzarella di Aversa, freschissima. Assicurati che sia buona: piglia queste dita, premi la mozzarella, se cola il latte, te la pigli, sennò … desisti!”.

“Get half a kilo of Mozzarella from Aversa and make sure it’s fresh: using your fingers, press it, if milk drips, you can buy it … otherwise, give up!”.


Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO (crt-01)

crown

THE MOST TRADITIONAL PRODUCERS

Consortium for the Protection of the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (crt-01)

This article is the fruit of the collaboration between WebFoodCulture and the Consortium for the Protection of the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, the organization that brings together the most traditional producers of the dairy specialty. The information provided illustrate the actual characteristics of the product.

Campania: the Italiani region of Mozzarella di Bufala PDO.

The Italian region of Campania, the place of origin of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO, is located in the south of the country. Its capital is the famous city of Naples.

Buffalo mozzarella: how to enjoy it at its best?

In order enjoy Buffalo Mozzarella at its best, it’s important to pay much attention to:
Its freshness: the fresher it is, the better. It should be ideally served as soon as it’s produced.
Its temperature: Mozzarella, be it Buffalo Mozzarella or Fior di Latte, should never be eaten cold. After taking it from the fridge, it should be warmed by immersing it in lukewarm water.

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Mozzarella di Bufala Campana in video.

Here follows a video showing the best way to eat Buffalo Mozzarella (courtesy of the Consortium for the Protection of the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO)

Buffalo Mozzarella: calories and nutritional values (crt-01)

Buffalo Mozzarella: calories and nutritional values.

One hundred grams of buffalo mozzarella contain 288 kilocalories. There are fats (24gr), proteins (17gr), phosphorus (320mg), calcium (245mg), cholesterol (50 / 60mg) and lactose (0.4mg).

Musica per la mozzarella.

The music by Roberto Murolo, one of the most famous Neapolitan singers, is probably the right choice to accompany the reading of this article:

Note: join Spotify and listen to the full songs.

Tomato and mozzarella: the ‘Caprese’.

The ‘Caprese’, summer dish par excellence, was born in the enchanting island of Capri (hence the name), located in the Gulf of Naples. This specialty is one of the undisputed symbols of Italian gastronomy and, more in general, of the Mediterranean diet. What is most striking, is the simplicity of its preparation, for which it’s enough to alternate a few slices of tomato to some others of Mozzarella (better if Buffalo Mozzarella), seasoning with olive oil and garnishing with basil. It’s interesting to note that these ingredients have the same colors as the Italian flag: white, red and green.

La pizza Margherita (crt-02)

Buffalo Mozzarella and Margherita Pizza.

Buffalo mozzarella is a fundamental ingredient in the preparation of the queen of pizzas: the ‘Margherita’. Although the most famous Neapolitan specialty in the world can be prepared also using ‘normal’ Mozzarella (‘Fior di Latte STG’, made with cow’s milk), there is no doubt that the one made with buffalo is by far the ideal choice, since it’s tastier.

Confezione originale della Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP (crt-01)

The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana.

The PDO mark, assigned to Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (Buffalo Mozzarella) in June 1996, certifies the unique qualities of this cheese. The Consortium for the Protection of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO has established a set of rules to guarantee its originality, allowing the consumer to savor its authentic flavor. Among these rules:
The denomination ‘Mozzarella di Bufala Campana’;
The trademark of the Consortium;
The PDO mark;
The identification number of the cheese producer;

The Consortium for the Protection of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO: information.

The Consortium for the Protection of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana was founded in 1981: since its inception, its main tasks have been to verify compliance with the regulations concerning the production of this dairy specialty, to promote its qualities and to protect it from the many imitation attempts. These tasks became even more stringent the day after the assignment, which took place in 1996, of the Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.): the European mark certifying the unique qualities of a food product of excellence.

The Consortium for the Protection of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO (crt-01)

The Consortium for the Protection of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO: contacts.

Address: Reggia di Caserta, Regie Cavallerizze
Via Gasparri, 1 – 81100 Caserta (Italy)
Website: www.mozzarelladop.it
Mail: [email protected]
Tel.: +39 0823 424780




COPYRIGHT INFORMATION


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The images bearing the logo ‘webfoodculture’ are copyrighted.

The following images are public domain:

img-01 (*) – ‘Opera di Bartolomeo Scappi’, 17th century (Wikipedia Link) {PD-Art} {PD-US}
img-02 (*) – Bartolomeo Scappi, print, 16th century (Wikipedia Link) {PD-Art} {PD-US}
img-03 (*) – Frame from the movie ‘Poverty and Nobility’, 1954 (Wikipedia Link)

The following images are published courtesy of:

crt-01 – Images published courtesy of the Consortium for the Protection of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO.
crt-02 – Images published courtesy of the True Neapolitan Pizza Association.

Header images:

Images published courtesy of the Consortium for the Protection of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO.

(*) The copyright of this image has expired.
(**) Image released in public domain by its author.