The origins of the Mozzarella
The mozzarella comes from the Italian "mozzare" which means "cut", because the cheese is cut by hand during production.
Its origins go back to the importation of buffalo to work on the lands of southern Italy.
Mozzarella was reportedly born around the 7th century in Italy. At that time, it was common to bring back Asian buffaloes to cultivate the land. Little by little, over time, we realized that buffalo milk could be used to make cheese.
In fact, farmers finally understood how creamy buffalo milk was, particularly suited to cheese production.
This creamy character of the milk of this variety of cows is such that it takes 4 litres of milk to make 1kg of mozzarella, against 12 for ordinary cow’s milk ... which allows to make discover the cheese to the greatest number!
With the success of mozzarella growing since the 17th century, producers were forced to use cow’s milk in parallel to meet the growing demand.
That’s why we distinguish between buffalo milk mozzarella and cow’s milk mozzarella.
In 1996, a Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée was created for mozzarella with buffalo milk, (mozzarella " di bufala campana") in order to limit the authorization of production in Campania.
Since then, the production of mozzarella has not been as harsh as it was then and it has been industrialized. 90% of production is now obtained from cow’s milk.
Mozzarella is an essential ingredient of Italy, until it is called «the white gold of Italy», like tomatoes or pesto which represent the gold quality at Panzani.
Today, this cheese is produced in Italy in the regions of Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Abruzzo, Molise, Marche and in the south of Latium.
Difference between mozzarella, ricotta and burrata
These 3 cheeses can be assimilated or even confused, but there are obviously specific characteristics that allow them to be well differentiated.
First of all, the difference in taste and texture between mozzarella and ricotta comes from their manufacturing process.
Mozzarella is a spun cheese with a dense, homogeneous and smooth texture. When a coagulant is added to obtain curd, the milk is first left to ferment to obtain curd (that is, when a coagulant is added to obtain curd). This curd, once drained, is soaked in very hot water (between 80 and 90°C).
Then, we practice spinning: an operation that consists in lifting and pulling the dough several times, using a bowl and a stick, until we obtain a thready and homogeneous mixture.
Finally, the mixture is cut.
Often derived from Mozzarella, Ricotta is not a spun cheese but a fresh cheese whose slightly grainy consistency is close to that of faisselle: it is a kind of Italian-style cottage cheese!
After the first draining of the Mozzarella, the whey from the curd is recovered to be heated with a little white vinegar or lemon (depending on the traditions and territory where it is practiced).
Ricotta is therefore an «recuite» version («Ricotta» in Italian) of whey from the manufacture of Mozzarella.
Another difference between these two cheeses is the number of calories: for 100g, Ricotta has 175 against 280 for Mozzarella.
Finally, the other cheese we tend to confuse with mozzarella is Burrata. It is a much creamier Italian cheese than mozzarella. It is native to the region of Puglia, in the south-east of Italy and is made from cream and mozzarella, so it is also a derivative.
The supposed origin of the Burrata is rather anecdotal: a cheese maker who did not want to waste a ball of mozzarella from the previous day would have stuffed it with cream and shredded mozzarella leftovers before closing it all with a knot.There you go! The Burrata is born!
Its creaminess allows it to match with many foods, whether they are pasta or vegetables such as grilled aubergines or charcuterie. In Europe, it is often served as an appetizer with tomatoes, another key ingredient in Italian cuisine , and vinaigrette to replace the famous tomato-mozzarella.
Method for producing
When we talk about mozzarella, we must distinguish the classic mozzarella from the mozzarella di Bufala Campana AOP.
As seen above, the «classic» mozzarella also named in Italian «fior di latte» is a spun cheese made from cow’s milk. It takes an average of 10 litres of milk to produce a kilo of cheese. Mozzarella is made from milk curd. This is achieved by rennet, a method that solidifies milk. Once the curd is made, it is cut and immersed in a water heated between 80 and 90°.
The spinning begins then. Then, the cheese is sliced (mozzata in Italian, hence the name of mozzarella), in order to give it its final shape in ball. When it is cut by hand it leaves a characteristic imprint.
Once the delicious mozzarella has been obtained, all that remains is to prepare it in the kitchen and taste it according to its tastes: as a starter with the simple and always effective combination of mozzarella tomatoes, with a dash of olive oil and basil or as a family dish, on delicious vegetable pizzas!
What does mozzarella taste like?
Farm and artisanal mozzarellas should be eaten very quickly after their manufacture, ideally the same day in order to have the best possible taste.
In theory, quite neutral, the mozzarella has a pleasantly tart taste that goes well with almost all the possible and unimaginable ingredients.
In fact, the taste of mozzarella varies depending on its quality, ranging from a relatively neutral flavor to the pronounced taste of milk through subtle aromas of hazelnut.
Mozzarella in Italian cuisine
The tasty mozzarella di bufala is available in different sizes, and comes in different products that are found in the stalls of the creameries, and often à la carte restaurants. Of course, it is often offered in its usual form: ball of about 200 grams.
However, there are also:
• bocconcini: small mozzarella balls
• treccia: braided mozzarella, slightly less creamy than simple mozzarella
• mozzarella affumicata: smoked mozzarella
Mozzarella can be eaten plain, raw or cooked, and is part of many recipes for salads, pasta, pizzas, etc.
Mozzarella is the most consumed cheese in Italy, present on the tables of six out of ten Italians.
As a national emblem, mozzarella is one of those universal symbols of Italian culture: this cheese represents the excellence of made in Italy!
In salads, pastas and pizzas, it’s a must for summer and winter! Fine and melting, it transports us to Italy with every bite….
Hmmmm… Mozza! Its creamy texture makes us all melt with pleasure. Its delicate flavor goes perfectly with that of tomato, basil and olive oil to tickle your taste buds.
One of the most famous mozzarella dishes in traditional Italian cuisine is the caprese salad for which it is served with tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
It is also widely used for pizza and eggplant parmesan. It is also delicious to prepare it fried in oil as in the recipe of the mozzarella slipper and in that of small breaded mozzarella stick.
Let yourself be tempted by our Italian recipes that you can decorate with mozzarella!
Since its creation in Florence, Panzani has always highlighted Italian ingredients to create its product ranges. The goal is to offer a perfect combination of flavors to make everyone live the experience of dishes 100% Italian taste!
Discover many more detailed mozzarella recipes:
- Tomato, pesto and mozzarella tartare
- Tomato, mozzarella and basil kebabs
- Baked Fettucine with turkey, mozzarella and cottage cheese
- Tomatoes and mozzarella lasagne
- Eggplant and cauliflower pizza
- Chicken mozza zucchini pizza