The mozzarella. Its own name already makes us want to eat. It is a cheese that has crossed the borders of Italy to be present in the kitchen of the whole world. But this was not always the case, as for hundreds of years its traditional recipe made it very difficult to transport and market the cheese far from its production sites.
We are not talking about a modern cheese. We can trace its origin to the area of Caserta and Salerno until the time of Rome, as Pliny the Elder tells us about his first versions. In medieval times, as early as the 12th century, we find more evidence of its existence, until, as early as the 16th century, it appears with its name for the first time in a recipe book.
However, the production of mozzarella changed with the arrival of the buffalo in Italy. Until then, it was made from cow's or sheep's milk, but buffalo milk, with its special creaminess, won the hearts of Italians.
Its production begins like the other cheeses, separating the whey from the milk with the rennet until the curd is obtained, which is cut into cubes before being cooked in hot water at 60 degrees. The result is an elastic mass that is stretched and folded into the shape of a ball that we all know. To preserve it, it is immersed in a soft brine that also provides the right amount of salt to the cheese.
Mozzarella stands out for its creaminess, mild flavour and ease of melting, making it a key ingredient in most pizzas or paninis. But it is not only served hot, it is also indispensable in salads such as caprese, which consists, without any artifice, of mozzarella, chopped tomato, basil and a good splash of olive oil.
Italy condensed into a small dish. Enjoy!