Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO is a fresh cheese produced with fresh milk obtained from buffalo belonging to the Italian Mediterranea breed.
The milk is delivered to the dairies within 60 hours of milking; it is then filtered and heated at a temperature of 33-36°C. Curdling, which is carried out with the addition of natural calf rennet, is preceded by the addition of a natural whey starter obtained from the whey of the previous day’s production. The curd is broken twice with a wooden stick called a ruotolo, or with a large metal whisk, until the grains are the size of a walnut. The curd is then layered in special containers where, with the addition of 95°C water, it is spun and divided into single pieces of predetermined shapes and sizes. The pieces are immersed in cold water for several minutes before being put in brine for salting.
Appearance and Flavour
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO has a roundish shape, but other forms are permitted (nuggets, braids, pearls, little knots, cherry, egg). The weight varies between 10 and 800 g. depending on the shape (3 kg for the braid). It is porcelain white in colour, with an extremely thin skin and smooth surface. The cheese is made up of thin layers and has a slightly elastic consistency for the first 8-10 hours after production, eventually becoming softer. The flavour is delicate, with a hint of musk reminiscent of lactic acid fermentation.
The production area of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO is within the provinces of Caserta, Salerno and several municipalities in the provinces of Naples and Benevento, in the Campania region; several municipalities in the provinces of Latina, Frosinone, Rome, in the Lazio region; the Municipality of Vefrano in the Province of Isernia, in the Molise region, several municipalities in the Province of Foggia, in the Apulia region.
The origins of mozzarella are linked to the introduction of buffalo into Italy. According to some, it was the Norman kings that brought the animals from Sicily - where they had been introduced by the Arabs - into Southern Italy, in around the year 1000. Others sustain that the buffalo is actually native to Italy, due to the discovery of fossils in the countryside around Rome and to recent studies showing the phylogenetic diversity between Italian and Indian buffalo. However, the first indication of milking buffalo for the production of provala, ricotta and mozzarella cheese dates back to the 1600s. The consumption of buffalo cheeses spread significantly at the end of XVIII century, also thanks to the fact that the royal Bourbon family established the first buffalo farm in the area of San Tammaro, in the Province of Caserta.
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO should be kept in a cool place, inside a glass or ceramic container. It should remain immersed in the liquid that it is sold in. If kept in the fridge, it should be removed before consumption and eaten at room temperature. It is generally eaten fresh, but it can also be used as an ingredient in the preparation of numerous dishes, among which Pizza Napoletana TSG; when used in cooking, the mozzarella should be removed from the liquid and left in the fridge for several hours before use.
The product is marketed as Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO, with the possible addition of the words Latte Crudo (raw milk), depending on the production process used. It is sold year-round pre-packed, in heat-sealed bags, bowls and tubs.
The distinctive organoleptic characteristics of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO are linked to the micro-biological nature of buffalo’s milk, which presents a higher concentration of lactobacilli strains than cow’s milk.