We’ve all enjoyed mozzarella cheese on a pizza, or perhaps melted over roast beef as part of a submarine sandwich.
But once you’ve had the opportunity to taste fresh buffalo-milk mozzarella, you’ll be tempted to say, “Hold the tomatoes and basil,” when you order your next Caprese salad.
The real thing is that good.
Take a drive around the outskirts of Naples, and you’ll be bombarded by signs for dairy outlets that specialize in mozzarella – they’re just as common as the winery signposts around Sonoma County.
And just like wineries, the best dairies make sure they qualify for a European Union designation of quality. On mozzarella packaging or in display cases, look for the letters “DOP,” which stand for denominazione d’origine protecta.
In 2008, about 32,000 tons of DOP mozzarella was produced in Campania. But you probably never saw even a slice of it at your local cheese purveyor because it has a shelf life of only a few days. Reason: It’s made from non-pasteurized milk.
The best of the best should be consumed within two days of production, and never should be refrigerated.
Just as no two wines are exactly the same, there are subtle differences in mozzarella styles. Some are densely textured and slightly salty, while others are softer and runny.
Either way, when you taste the real thing, you’re in for a culinary treat.