Buffalo Milk Cheese
With its recent growth in popularity, buffalo milk cheese is now firmly on the scene. The mineral-rich milk is lower in cholesterol, while maintaining an undulant richness. It's easy to see why the buffalo is sweeping our shores as it takes on the world. The home of water buffalo dairy agriculture is undisputedly Italy and production continues in earnest there after more than 1000 years of tradition in caring for these kind, lactose-producing giants.
The Fine Cheese Co. proudly showcases and presents the two alternative traditions behind the milk. Firstly, an exquisite example of Mozzarella di Buffala and Buratta, steeped in the tradition of Campania and the trademark of Italy to rival Parmigiano Reggiano, Ferrari or even the green, white and red-striped flag.
Secondly, there's a more modern approach. Quattro Portoni is built from the backbone of buffalo farming. It takes inspiration from the classic Italian cheese and producing with this premium quality milk. It's an interesting battle between classic vs. modern, however its collective strength reinforces each other in a world of cheese mostly dominated by Cow, Goat and Sheep.
Quattro Portoni - The Modern
The Quattro Portoni range offers something exciting and fresh, based on the tradition of buffalo farming in Italy. Each slightly resembles a European classic, yet still remains individual at the same time. All four cheeses in this range are great stand-alone cheeses, but we love how they work together as a group. They perfectly accentuate the sweetness of the buffalo milk, while differentiating themselves with their own unique character. The range is proving popular, partially due to its health benefits. The milk is richer in calcium and a better source of magnesium than cows’ milk. Buffalo milk is also lower in cholesterol, while remaining higher in milk solids, giving it a fantastic texture across the board. These cheeses deserve to be better known.
Penny Bu is soft and unctuous. It yearns to be eaten in one sitting with a spoon between two! Close to impossible to manage once cut, Penny Bu's liquid interior evenly coats the palate with a hard-to-describe light richness. The thick, creamy texture sits gently on the stomach. We suggest pairing it with our Fig Fruit for Cheese or Date Toast for Cheese.
Casatica is possibly the most unusual of the bunch. It is shaped like a curvy, rectangular log with a fine-ridged finish. The paste is bouncy, with a white penicillium candidum rind. The bloomy rind is evenly distributed and holds close to the cheese, even when ripe, and helps develop beautiful hay-like aromas. The texture is firm, yet moist when young, breaking down to almost spreadable with age. Try with Grape Nectar and Quince Toast for Cheese.
Blu di Bufala
The Blu di Bufala is a revelation, especially for those who claim they don't enjoy blue cheese! Penicillium glaucum is used to encourage the blue mould (the same fungal cultures as gorgonzola), which is clearly identifiable in the flavour. The semi-hard texture of the cheese holds its shape when thinly sliced and spreads with slight pressure, making it perfect for the cheeseboard. Drizzle Grape Nectar or Truffle honey for the additional sweetness to create a truly lavish experience.
Finally, the search for the perfect Mozzarella di Bufala is over. When working with such a simple ingredient, it is vital to have the best quality available. From the moment it hits the taste-buds, you get the 'wow' factor. The quality of the milk shines through, with a flavour that reminds us of a fresh milking parlour, lingering for a surprising time considering the delicate nature of this fresh cheese. The texture has beautiful balance between a light, fluffy, milky cream and the scaled exterior that holds the shape and creates a more substantial mouthfeel. Neither is too much, and each plays their role perfectly.
It's a bad sign when the exterior of mozzarella is leather and its interior is liquid. Neither is good and they make the other worse.
Mozzarella's beginning is argued and unknown, but be it Asian or Arabian buffalo, the Italians knew what to do with the milk. Taking its name simply from the action of production (Mozzare = "to cut by hand"), it is a labour of love requiring stretching and working the curd in scalding water, a practice dating as far back as the 11th century.
Historically, consumption was confined to Southern Italy, where villagers were required to travel to the creamery and collect the freshest balls, with only hours of shelf life. As refrigeration and packaging advanced, the reach of this speciality grew, and possibly too fast. Cows' milk was used as an alternative to meet the high demand across the country, and later globally, with surging Italian migration over the Atlantic. The style changed, reducing moisture in favour of extended life. During this manufacturing boom, the artisans of Campania, in Southern Italy, quietly continued to make fresh Mozzarella di Bufala as tradition dictated.
Now the world desires the 'white gold' and the importance of "Di Bufala" is becoming understood once again. Gracefully dress mozzarella with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic and tear, but never cut! Serve it with heritage tomatoes and a plate of salami and prosciutto, for an authentic Italian antipasti.