buffalo mozzarella?

Jul 19th, 2001, 02:45 PM
  #1  
michele
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buffalo mozzarella?

This is not a troll, just something I've long been curious about and have been afraid to ask anyone for fear it is a stupid question. I'm a bit of a foodie and love fresh buffalo mozzarella. From what I've read, this cheese is made only from whole milk from the buffalo. But I have always understood this to be a cheese that originated in Italy -- and they don't have buffalo in Italy, do they? Do they import the milk? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I am genuinely wondering.
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 02:51 PM
  #2  
Ed
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It's Bufala Mozzarella. The "buffalo" of which it speaks is a domesticated animal, more closely related, I believe to the ox than the American Bison, which is what you probably mean when you say Buffalo.

Mozzarella is also made from fresh cow's milk. Not quite as tangy, but almost indistinguishable to most.

Freshly made is best. Generally bought immediately before the noon or evening meal by Italian housewives. It bears little resemblance to the glutinous, rubbery ball sold whole or shredded in the States for pizza.

twenj
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 02:52 PM
  #3  
Ed
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Then again, perhaps you were speaking of cheese bought in a large city in upstate New York?
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 02:56 PM
  #4  
Nancy
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The big area for "buffalo" mozzarella production is just south of Salerno, near Paestum. If you visit the area you will find roadside stands and cheese factories everywhere.
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 03:02 PM
  #5  
Capo
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I'd wondered that too. My girlfriend & I asked a Roman woman we'd met on the train about it, and she told us it was from a cow, not a buffalo...so she didn't know either, or else cow might be their word for water buffalo.

Anyway, here's a website with a little info about it, as well as a drawing of the water buffalo:

http://www.viaitalia.net/mozzarella_di_bufala.htm
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 03:13 PM
  #6  
michele
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Well, thanks folks, but now I'm even more confused! I had read several sources that specifically said that mozzarella made from cow's milk could NOT be labelled "buffalo mozzarella" and that it had to be from whole milk from the buffalo (of course cow's milk can also be made into mozzarella but my understanding is that it is generally considered not quite as good and cannot be labelled "buffalo" mozzarella). I guess it makes sense if a buffalo (or "bufala") in Italy is not what we in the U.S. think of as a buffalo or bison but more like an ox? Although I have to admit I never saw any oxen in Italy either -- only cows, and not even very many of those! It just seems like there's an awful lot of buffalo mozzarella out there in the world and a strange dearth of those creatures in Italy that could have produced it.
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 03:19 PM
  #7  
JOdy
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The very best mozzarella cheese you can buy in the US comes from the Mozzarella cheese stor in Dallas , Tx. Check out their website, When we lived in Dallas it was east to buy but now I order it by mail> won't get any better here in US.Don't even think about the stuff you buy in the graocery, it is just gum!
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 03:26 PM
  #8  
michele
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Thanks Capo for the website! Now I get it -- WATER buffalo. "Things that make you go hmmmm..." Still, I didn't see any of those in Italy either... but then again I guess I wasn't looking for them. That is a very good website. Looking forward to eating more of this delicious stuff next time I'm in Italy -- some fresh tomatoes and basil and a little of that cheese and some nice olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper and I'm in heaven!
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 03:45 PM
  #9  
Capo
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You're welcome, Michele. As Ed alluded to, what we call buffalo in the U.S. are actually bison.

From the website below...

http://www.americanwest.com/critters/buffindx.htm

NOTE: Is it Buffalo or Bison?

The American Buffalo is not a true buffalo. Its closest relative is the European Bison or Wisent and the Canadian Woods Bison, not the buffalo of Asia or Africa, such as the Cape Buffalo or Water Buffalo. Scientifically, the American Buffalo is named Bison and belongs to Bovidae family of mammals, as do domestic cattle. Because our history has so ingrained in us the name "Buffalo", we still use it, although "Bison" and "Buffalo" are used interchangably.

Many more water buffalo (which are the true buffalo) and water buffalo products have recently found their way into the American markets. This has caused the Bison industry to rethink the term buffalo being applied to our "Bison" products.
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 03:49 PM
  #10  
KT
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In Italy, true "mozzarella di bufala" is denominazione d'origine protetta (DOP) or (maybe denominazione d'origine controllata (DOC) -- I never know which is which), which means that cheese must be produced in a certain way, and definitely from water buffalo, to be "official." It's similar to the way true Chianti or prosciutto di parma are regulated, but certainly people try to pass off other products as the real thing.

I've been told that the water buffalo was introduced to Sicily by the Arabs who ruled Sicily for awhile, and thence was imported up to southern Italy. I don't think 've ever seen one, either, but then I haven't travelled around the agricultural areas of Campania.

Mooooooooooooooooooo.
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 04:54 PM
  #11  
DellVecc
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I don't know where it comes from, but my Mom just got back from Italy and brought some home with her.......YUMMY!!!
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 05:08 PM
  #12  
Linda
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KT, the Campania area is FULL of water buffalo. I love mozzarela di bufulo, and the stuff I get here in the States just doesn't hold a candle to what I got in Naples, even if it is buffalo mozzarella. Don't know about the stuff here, but in Naples, if the mozzarella is more than two days old, they don't eat it. It just has NO shelf life, even if kept cold. Guess that's why it is so hard to get the good stuff in the States.

Michelle, the salad you are talking about is Insalata Caprese or Capri Salad (in English)--don't know if it originated in Capri, or just has that name. It is my favorite thing to eat in Campania--heaven on the tongue. I make it here in the States, at least once a week, but it just isn't the same, even when I can get "buffalo mozzarela". Can't wait till I get back to Italy next year to get some of the "real stuff". And you're right. It CAN be made from cow's milk, but then it is is not buffalo mozzarella; it's mozzarella fresca for the fresh stuff, or just mozzarella for the more aged cheese. These two are what you will generally find in most of Italy--only Campania and I believe Basilicata have the mozzarella di bufulo.
 
Jul 20th, 2001, 08:25 AM
  #13  
michele
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Thanks for all the great info everybody! This is such a great forum for learning all kinds of new things and indulging one's curiosity. People are so knowledgable and willing to share what they know.

My mouth is watering...
 
Jul 21st, 2001, 10:36 AM
  #14  
nancy
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Linda,
I agree with you.
I ate much more Caprese, than I did gelato!
I ate it either for lunch or dinner, or sometimes both! Yummy.
You are going back next year?
Major trip envy
 
Jul 21st, 2001, 10:56 AM
  #15  
Phil
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michele:

According to the "world almanac", in 1997 Italy boasted 7.24 million heads of cattle, 1.39 goats and 150'000 water buffalo. This sure accounts for a lot of milk to be processed to Mozarella, Parmigiano, Gorgonzola, Pecorino (romano, sardo, toscano), Raschiera, Taleggio, Provolone, Stracchino, Grana padano, Bra, Fontina.... oh sorry, have to check my ice box.

Enjeoy your meals (and your trips)

Phil.
 
Jul 21st, 2001, 03:42 PM
  #16  
nancy
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Phil,
Stracchino.
Is it best when eatten "fresh", like the B.mozzarella?
I found some at our local Coop, and have always wanted to try it.
Have you had any?
 
Jul 21st, 2001, 03:54 PM
  #17  
Carol
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I know that it's not made from bison milk, and that the buffalo in question is closer to the ox. What I want to know is whether it simply IS an ox. I recently returned from a vacation in Lucania. I visited my grandmother's birthplace, Accettura, where there's a famous annual festa that involves the "marriage" of two trees, one of which is dragged to town from the woods by 100 oxen. I asked around about what people DO with the oxen during the whole rest of the year and several people said that farmers simply keep them just for their use during the festa. I know that some oxen from Accettura also appeared in a the parade of the Turks in Potenza a few days before Accettura's festa, but I find it hard to believe that these huge anumals are fed and maintained all year just for their role in these festivities. But no one mentioned that they were used for milk to make cheese.
 
Jul 21st, 2001, 04:04 PM
  #18  
tobud
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Last year we were driving from Rome to Arce along the coast and we actually came across a farm where they made this cheese. You could smell the buffalo from a mile away! It was pretty funny, we got out of the car and video taped the buffalo. We love the cheese and always eat lots of it while in Italy.
 
Jul 21st, 2001, 10:04 PM
  #19  
Phil
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Nancy:

Just back from the fridge ;-).

Yes, Stracchino definitely is best when bought very fresh from a creamery in northern Italy and eaten straight away (no that it would keep when I'm around). We get them at cheese stores north of the alps, wrapped in grease-proof paper and sealed into a plastic wrapper. I buy one of them occasionally, and it it surprisingly good. Go ahead and try it, just remember, it will be at least twice as good in Italy.

Enjoy.

Phil
 
Jul 21st, 2001, 10:59 PM
  #20  
jahoulih
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As to Carol's question of whether these animals are oxen: "Ox" seems to have several levels of meaning. First, it is the non-sex-specific term for bulls and cows (Bos taurus). But it can also be used more broadly for any animals of the family Bovidae, including the water buffalo (Bos bubalus, the Italian bufalo/bufala) and the American buffalo or bison (Bison americanus)--which apparently used to be known as the American ox. Note that the water buffalo is more closely related to the ox in the narrow sense (Bos taurus) than it is to the American buffalo, which is in a different genus (Bison rather than Bos). To confuse things further, there's also a European bison (Bos bison) that is in the genus Bos.

"Ox" also has a more specific meaning: a castrated bull--fairly irrelevant to the cheese-making process.

I'm getting all this from the Oxford English Dictionary. If there are any naturalists or cattlemen out there, please correct me.
 

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