There are many dishes and foods that are worth trying in Italy. One example is the Ina Garten Italian wedding soup. But aside from that, another delicious Italian food that you must taste is Italy’s white gold cheese.
The white gold cheese in Italy is also known as Buffalo Mozzarella. It is a white gold mozzarella cheese that is made from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo. This dairy product is traditionally made in Campania, particularly in the provinces of Salerno and Caserta. It is quite different from Fior de Latte, which is also a type of mozzarella but is made of cow’s milk instead.
The famous white gold cheese belongs to the category of stretch-curd cheeses, which are prepared by heating the curd, making it elastic. This way, the cheesemaker can process it and adjust its shape and size. It is available in various shapes, but the most popular and most classic shape of Buffalo Mozzarella is round, with an attractive white color. Read on to know more about Italy’s White Gold Cheese.
The History of Italy’s White Gold Cheese
The origins of Italy’s white gold cheese or Buffalo Mozzarella are tied to a distant past. Even though there is no certainty, many researchers trace them back to the Middle Ages, when the Arabs would have introduced the breeding of buffalos in southern Italy.
The oldest documents about the origins of Buffalo Mozzarella are from the XII century. It consists of notes in which priests of the Monastery of San Lorenzo a Capua mentioned it using the names “Mozza” and “Provatura.”
The first “bufalare” was built in the 15th century. These were dairies made of bricks, which are used in buffalo milk processing. The earliest indication of the use of the word “mozzarella” dates back to 1570 and can be found in a cookbook by Pope Pius V.
The breeding of buffalos was promoted by the Bourbon royal family in the 18th century. It has greatly influenced the spreading and success of the cheese, which started from the rich markets of the city of Salerno and Naples. The assignment of the prestigious Protected Origin Mark or D.O.P. by Europe on June 12, 1996, marked the definitive sanctification of the qualities of Buffalo Mozzarella, or Italy’s white gold cheese.
Areas Where Italy’s White Gold Cheese are Produced
Cheese in Italy is produced nationwide using Italian buffalo’s milk, which is under the government’s official name Mozzarella di latte di bufala since Italian buffalo is in all Italian regions. However, only selected type of Mozzarella di bufala campana PDO or Buffalo Mozzarella is produced in areas, which range from Rome in Lazio to Paestum near Salerno in Campania. In addition, there are also production areas in the province of Foggia, Apulia, and Venafro in Molise.
In Italy, white gold cheese is a €300m per year industry, or equivalent to $330m. The country produces around 33,000 tons of Buffalo Mozzarella each year, and 16% of that is sold abroad. Some of the main importers of the cheese are France and Germany, but sales to Russia and Japan are also growing.
Aside from Italy, Buffalo Mozzarella is also made in other countries in the world. You can find producers of white gold cheese in the United States, Switzerland, Mexico, Australia, China, Brazil, Thailand, and more. All of them use milk from their own herds of water buffalos.
How Italy’s White Gold Cheese is Made
Here are some of the steps being followed by manufacturers when making Buffalo Mozzarella. But you also need to remember that a very similar procedure is also used for the other type of Mozzarella, which is the Fior de Latte.
- Step #1: Fresh buffalo milk is brought to the dairy and stored in steel silos. Later in, they are poured into special boilers.
- Step #2: The milk in the steel boilers are gradually heated to a temperature, which varies from 33°C (91.4°F) to 39°C (102°F).
- Step #3: Whey graft and natural calf rennet are then added to the milk so that it will thicken and form the curd.
- Step #4: When the curd is formed, it is broken into pieces not greater than a walnut. The whey, which is the liquid part, will be used for making the Buffalo Ricotta.
- Step #5: In a few hours, the curd acidifies the whey, which is referred to as the process of maturation. Then, it is cut into strips, chopped, and placed in special containers called filatrici or spinners.
- Step #6: The spinners are then poured with boiling water at 100°C (212°F). Then, the content is mixed using a stick, which leads to the formation of a uniform paste called filature or spinning.
- Step #7: Mozzarella takes shape through formatura, which is a method carried out either by hand or by machine. This occurs when the dough, which is subjected to traction, is torn.
- Step #8: The mozzarella pieces are then placed into special tanks and filled with water. It is where they cool and harden. After that, the final step is the salatura or salting.
Italy’s white gold cheese or Buffalo Mozzarella is indeed one of the best cheeses that you need to try in Italy. Remember that it has to be made using water buffalo milk as per its PDO-designation. Therefore, if you go to the supermarket and pick up a packet that says mozzarella but does not say “di bufala,” it is probably not mozzarella after wall, and there’s a high chance that it is made using cow’s milk instead, making it Fior di latte. Buffalo Mozzarella is also best eaten fresh, so you could enjoy its subtle grassy and mossy flavors that come from fresh buffalo milk. We hope this post helped you in learning more about Italy’s white gold cheese.