Mozzarella from A to Z, from Fine Dining Lovers:
Admit it, mozzarella is one of those things about Italy you just can’t resist, now your opportunity to find out everything about the delish cheese.
By Gabriele De Palma
The Campano town of Aversa, near Caserta, has been a fundamental center for mozzarella since the time of Norman domination. This is still where the majority of buffalo mozzarella is produced.
Very similar to mozzarella, burrata is made in the Puglia region. It’s a creamy whey cut by hand into threads, enclosed in mozzarella.
The Consortium for the Protection of the Buffalo Cheese of Campania is the association that oversees the quality of buffalo mozzarella.
In March of 2008, the New York Times exposed the danger of dioxin contamination in mozzarella, caused by environmental pollution. Proven true, many countries blocked the importation. Italian authorities immediately revoked the contaminated products from the market and began a strict method of checks. The mozzarella industry quickly returned to its prior excellence.
One of the most beloved dishes in Italian cuisine is Eggplant Parmigiana: slices of eggplant are covered with mozzarella, tomato and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, then baked in the oven.
Fiordilatte – Is a variant of mozzarella obtained from cow’s milk, coming from the regions of Puglia and Campania. Perfect for fillings and frying.
Goat’s milk mozzarella is made in very few dairies. As goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk, many producers have begun increasing quantities. Called “caprotella” (capra the Italian word for goat), it’s light but also very flavorful.
Traditionally, mozzarella is cut by hand. In fact, it’s name comes from the verb “mozzare”, which means “to chop”. The technique is carried out by holding the cheese between the index and the thumb, and ripping off one section at a time.
Mozzarella is now produced in many countries, thanks to Italians who have emigrated abroad. The best in the world, however, is still made in Southern Italy, where it’s been made for centuries. Juncus – In the past, mozzarella used to be conserved in reeds and leaves and stored in rattan baskets.
In 2011, the famous Serbian director Emir Kusturica produced the film Mozzarella Stories directed by the young Italian director, Edoardo De Angelis.
Mozzarella is rather high in calories. One hundred grams contains about 288 calories (for buffalo mozzarella), or 260 for the fiordilatte variant. Many producers make a “light” version weighing in at 170 calories per 100 grams.
Buffalo mozzarella is mentioned by the beloved film actor Totò in the film Miseria e Nobiltà by Mario Mattioli and To Rome With Love by Woody Allen.
According to some studies, mozzarella originated in Campania – not from the local people, but from the Normans who invaded Southern Italy in the 11th Century.
Dominican friars imported the mozzarella-making technique to the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Because they had no buffalo’s milk, they used normal dairy cow milk. While not the same, Oaxaca cheese is a distant cousin of mozzarella.
Many restaurants use a mozzarella variant that contains less fat and water than traditional mozzarella, as it ensures easier cooking and a less soggy crust.
The quality of mozzarella is certified in Italy and Europe, according to many different standards and parameters that vary according to type of cheese and its origin. It’s also a product safeguarded by UNESCO.
Despite being used in many recipes where it undergoes cooking, the best way to enjoy a premium mozzarella is raw – garnished with just a drizzle of oil.
In Sardegna, it’s common to find mozzarella made from sheep’s milk. Treccia – Mozzarella is commonly found in the shape of a treccia, or “braid”, in which the two ends of the cheese are woven together to form one long piece. Mozzarella in this shape can weigh up to 3 kg. U
Mozzarella is sometimes used to describe someone unsuited for a task.
There is just one place outside of the Campania region that can carry the DOP (of protected origin) label on Campana Buffalo mozzarella. It’s Venafro, a small village in the Molise region.
The most prized mozzarella comes from buffalo mozzarella milk. It was the Normans who brought these animals to the Campania region.
The term “mozzarella” came into official use thanks to Bartolomeo Scappi, one of the most celebrated chefs of his time, who used the word in a recipe book in 1570.
In order to be enjoyed at its peak, mozzarella should be eaten the day it’s made – or at the latest, the day after. This is way for many centuries, it was only found in the regions that produce it.
In the Italian comedy Benvenuti al Sud the leading actor Claudio Bisio, invents a kind of mozzarella, which he calls the “Zizzona di Battipaglia”, which allegedly weighs an incredible 5 kg. After the film’s success, in 2012, the trademark Zizzona di Battipaglia was registered, for a brand that produces 800 g mozzarellas in the shape of a breast. In Italian, “zizza”, is a slang word for breasts.