Mozzarella (moht-sah-REL-lah) is a semi-soft fresh (i.e. not aged or ripened) Italian cheese, originally made from buffalo milk. Today it is often made from a mixture of buffalo’s and cow’s milk. Mozzarella is usually produced in spherical shapes and is often sold “wet” . It has a shiny, white appearance and a very mild taste with a stretchy and rubbery texture. Because mozzarella lacks any strong flavour, it is often used for its texture which absorbs the juices and flavours of other ingredients making it an excellent cheese to cook with.
Appearance and texture: Creamy white, soft, malleable cheese, mozzarella melts best when it is sliced or shredded.
With its smooth, elastic body, it’s no wonder that mozzarella is often shaped into cheese ropes that “string” when pulled apart. This form makes it easy to pack in picnic baskets and perfect for a fun, delicious snack on the run.
Buffalo mozzarella (Mozzarella di bufala)
Buffalo mozzarella is a delicate but flavorful fresh cheese with a stringy or fibrous consistency – indeed it’s the aristocratic European cousin of America’s beloved “string cheese”.
In contrast to its dry and somewhat tough American counterpart, mozzarella di bufala is so moist that when it’s cut, milky drops of enzymes appear on the surface, releasing a specific sweet aroma. Apart from the perhaps more familiar large and small ball shape, the cheese is also made into braids and bite-sized bits called “bocconcini”.
Made entirely of whole buffalo milk, it is sometimes available smoked, but only using the most natural and traditional methods. It’s much appreciated for its nutritional value and its content of calcium, protein, vitamins and mineral salts make it a good treat for the whole family. Read about Mozzarella di bufala here.
Campania is the Italian region in which mozzarella production is concentrated, so its no surprise that it has become one of the starring ingredients of another local specialty: pizza!
There’s nothing like fresh, sliced mozzarella with tomatoes on bread or fresh chunks served on top of pasta or salads. It is yummy solo, as well, with a little salt, pepper and oil.
In the mood for a cool, light summer snack? Serve mozzarella with your favorite crackers or ripe tomatoes, or try one of these mozzarella masterpieces: