The Cheeses of Campania

Basil and Tomatoes

The region of Campania in southern Italy is known for its cheeses and yogurt made from the milk of the water buffalo.  Water buffalos were originally brought to Italy by the Goths during the middle ages. The water buffalo milk is not used for drinking and is reserved only for cheese-making. Mozzarella di bufala and ricotta di bufala are mild, creamy cheeses that are not allowed to ripen but rather are used when they are freshly made.

The milk is brought in, curdled, and then drained to eliminate the whey. After this the curd is cut into small pieces, and then ground up in a sort of primitive mill. At this point, reduced to crumbles, the curd is put into a mold and immersed in hot water, where it is stirred until it takes on a rubbery texture. The cheese maker kneads it with his hands, like a baker making bread, until he obtains a smooth, shiny paste, a strand of which he pulls out and lops off, forming the individual mozzarella (mozzare in Italian in fact means to lop off). These in turn are put into cold water and then soaked in salt brine. As the cheese absorbs salt, it firms up. The end result is a shiny white orb with elastic consistency— so that if poked it springs back to its original shape. Mozzarella, prepared in the evening is ready the next morning, oozing with freshness and rich flavor. When the mozzarella is sliced, it should have a grainy surface and appear to be composed of many layers, like an onion. If the cheese is fresh, milky whey should seep out when you cut into mozzarella.


The authenticity of Mozzarella di bufala is identified by the wrapping printed with the name “Mozzarella di Bufala Campana” and the brand of the Mozzarella di Bufala Association with the relevant legal information and authorization number. The Mozzarella di Bufala Association was founded in 1993 and now represents 95 producers. The Association monitors the production and marketing of the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana in compliance with the production rules for the DOC (Certified Origin Brand) as set forth by the European Union agriculture policy.

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