Mozzarella – Italy’s white gold
It’s hard to image pizza or a traditional Caprese salad without mozzarella. Today we take a closer look at why this soft white cheese is so central to Italian cooking.
Some people think mozzarella tastes of nothing, but for Italians and lovers of Italian cuisine this couldn’t be further from the truth. As well as topping millions of pizzas, we’ve used it in our Pasta Caprese recipe too. Mmmmh! Time to take a closer look at these soft white balls of goodness.
How mozzarella balls are made
Even taken a closer look at the packet of mozzarella you bought at the supermarket? You should. You’ve probably purchased the cheaper, milder variety made using cows’ milk, whereas real (and more pricey) mozzarella is made using buffalo milk.
Mozzarella cheese is made using a special method. Hot water is poured over the curd mass before the cheese is pulled and stretched into an elastic dough. The familiar “balls” are lopped off and submersed in brine to preserve them. Mozzarella cheese even takes its name from this process. The Italian word “mozzatura” means “cut off” or “chop off”.
Mozzarella – a time-honoured tradition
Mozzarella has been around for hundreds of years. As far back as the 4th century, there were mentions of a cheese known as “Mozza”. Black water buffalo were brought to Italy in the 16th century and it was their milk that was used to produce the mozzarella we know today.
Legend has it that mozzarella was invented after a lump of curd fell into a pot of hot water. After the cheesemaker fished it out, he realised it had become soft and malleable.
Whether or not that’s the truth, we’re just happy it exists. After all, this is one highly versatile cheese. As well as topping pizzas the world over, it has a special place in Italy’s traditional Caprese salad where it’s served sliced thinly with tomatoes. Balsamic and olive oil are drizzled over the dish before it’s seasoned with salt and pepper and garnished with fresh basil leaves. Try a fruity twist on this old classic by replacing the tomatoes with melon or mango. Yummy!
There’s no end to mozzarella’s talents. Pop into your local Vapiano to sample our Pasta Caprese and see for yourself why this creamy cheese is known as Italy’s white gold.