When you can buy mozzarella in any supermarket, much of it made with cow’s milk, how do you recognize the real thing?
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP is still produced in the traditional way. It’s a ‘slow food’, requiring respect for the time it takes to go through the phases of production: milking, curdling, kneading and ‘mozzatura’ - shaping by hand. There is no substitute for the many years of experience that enable a producer to know the very moment when his senses tell him the freshly made, perfectly white cheese smells, tastes and looks just as it should.
Made from flavoursome buffalo milk, obtained with care by milkers observing centuries-old tradition, the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP is an artful creation by skilled hands which to this day process milk according to the rituals of the past and a traditional recipe.
Lactic ferment and salt are added to the milk, upon which it is curdled by ancient and skillful movements and drained to eliminate the whey. The curd is then cut into small pieces, immersed into hot water and stirred until it takes on the required texture.
This phase affects the consistency of the mozzarella, and it is therefore carried out with utmost skill and a precise degree of force. The master cheesemakers knead the mass in large wooden tubs until a smooth, shiny paste is obtained. It is then spun energetically with a large stick, creating the perfect elasticity and soft compactness that is typical of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP.
Using thumb and index finger, the cheesemakers skillfully “mozzano”, or lop off, a section of the paste, forming a single ball with two characteristic “little ears” on one side, a trademark that distinguishes all handmade mozzarelle. At this point, each mozzarella is delicately placed to rest in its milky liquid.
A good, fresh Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP is distinguished by its shiny porcelain white colour and its “rubbery” elasticity. When cut, it appears compact, with flattened openings between the layers of paste. It releases a whitish serum with an intense aroma of lactic ferment and a slightly acidic scent of cream and musk. The sweet flavour of mozzarella can be tasted on the tip of one's tongue, while its saltiness can be appreciated more on the sides. Each bite leaves an aftertaste of butter and hazelnut.