Soft Italian Cheese

As we scan the menu at Ports of Italy we see our dishes listed in Italian with descriptions in English below. Some plates are so familiar to us we don’t even need to read the italicized lettering to know what flavors to expect in every bite whether we’re Italian or from any of the other great countries in the world. However, there are still some ingredients that could use a little deeper explanation. We introduce you to: burrata.

Our menu describes it as: “soft center artisan mozzarella cheese”  — but what’s that mean? What’s the difference between regular mozzarella and burrata? And what’s that other one . . . buffala! Buffala, burrata, mozzerella? What exactly am I ordering?

Let’s start with the basics —

Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese from Southern Italy made from cow or water buffalo milk. It is typically eaten the day after it’s made, but can be kept in brine for up to a week and even longer in vacuum sealed packages (how we typically buy it in the supermarkets).

Mozzarella di buffala is the Italian name for mozzarella made from water buffalo milk. The milk “has a different composition to that of other animal species, such as cows and sheep, for example, whose milk is used for cheese production. It is richer in protein, fats and, above all, in overall calcium. These chemical characteristics allow those who work with it to obtain a cheese making yield that is double that normally obtained with cows’ milk” -Consorzio Tutela Mozzarella di Bufala Campana

Burrata is made up of mozzarella formed into a pouch and then filled with soft, stringy curd and fresh cream. But, burrata is not mozzarella and nor is it mozzarella di buffala, although it is made from buffalo milk. Simply the taste will have you understanding the uniqueness of this soft Italian cheese. Burrata means “buttered” in Italian and although the taste isn’t that of butter, the texture certainly lives up to the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth imagery.

So while our three soft Italian cheeses all seem to be connected, they all do have quite unique flavors and even textures. So come into Ports of Italy to try our Burrata Salad or add burrata to any of your other favorite salads as a topping! And if you’re interested in making your own cheese at home: Make your own burrata at home!

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Featured Image by: Tomislav Medak
Featured Image in article by: Robert Couse-Baker
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