Today we are going to take a road trip from the Amalfi Coast about an hour south to the city of Paestum, where you can see stunning Greek temples and a lot of water buffalo. Wait, water buffalo? While these less than lovely looking beasts certainly don’t rival the beauty of the Greek architecture nearby, one taste of the locally made mozzarella di bufala and you will enjoy a culinary moment nearly as divine! Last week I came across this entertaining article on the Los Angeles Times website called Campania region is where fresh mozzarella roams. A visit to Campania is not complete without enjoying at least a taste of the world’s best mozzarella. I wanted to share this fun and informative article, which has some great facts about mozzarella scattered throughout. I found these tidbits particularly insightful:
Mozzarella fact No. 1: Fresh mozzarella made from unpasteurized buffalo milk does not belong in the refrigerator. It is best kept at room temperature and optimally should be eaten within two days of production.
Ahem, yes. I can personally guarantee if you make the refrigerator mistake while living with a Campanian that you will only make this mistake once. Moving on . . .
Mozzarella fact No. 2: Caprese salad (mozzarella, tomatoes and basil) is delicious, and leftover cheese is fine for cooking. But when purists get their hands on a lump of real, fresh buffalo milk mozzarella, any accompaniment is superfluous.
True true! The tomatoes are definitely for the side when you have the best mozzarella. I am always fascinated by the table talk that goes on at family meals when there is mozzarella present. While I am still trying to pick up the subtle differences in flavor, it seems everyone has an opinion about whether it is too salty, not salty enough, a little too soft, too dense, or the ultimate compliment – buonissima!
Mozzarella fact No. 10: Eating the cheese promotes intelligence and good looks.
The author notes that although this hasn’t been proved it certainly does make people happy. And that I agree with!
The photos in this post were taken during a fun mozzarella tasting visit with my Mom at the Tenuta Vannulo, which the LAT article covers on the second page. Known in the area for making some of the best organic mozzarella and ricotta in Campania, Vannulo is a great way to finish a day in Paestum area. The fresh products are made daily and only sold on site in order to insure freshness and quality. While there you can explore the sprawling estate, see the approximately 500 buffaloes soaking up the Campania sun or munching away on a pile of feed, watch the mozzarella being worked and formed by hand in the dairy, and enjoy fresh tastings of mozzarella, ricotta, and buffalo milk yogurt and gelato in the tasting room and shop. (The apricot yogurt is particularly tasty!)
“What are you looking at?”
I wasn’t planning on mozzarella today, but I think I have to now! In case you are wondering, in my opinion the best mozzarella on the Amalfi Coast comes from a man named Ferdinando who has a small dairy in a fraction way up at the top of the city of Scala. I don’t have any contact information, but if you happen to find yourself in Scala, ask around for the mozzarella di Ferdinando and you will be shown the way. Deliziosa!