Probably buffalo mozzarella is, along with pizza and pastiera, the most famous product of Neapolitan gastronomy: these are products that many try to imitate a bit everywhere in the world, but let’s be honest, they do it without success.
It becomes very important, then, to understand when a buffalo mozzarella is really genuine: but what are the most easily recognizable characteristics that can help consumers to understand if they are buying a DOP product, properly made and preserved, or a bad imitation of it?
1) COLOUR: it must be pearl white. Buffalo mozzarella, differently from cow milk mozzarella, shouldn’t have any type of discoloration; it has to be pearly white, like fine bone china.
2) LOOK: smooth and homogeneous on the surface, layered and porous inside. The production method for this cheese creates an internal structure characterized by soft, porous layers. When it is cut, an abundant milky liquid should flow out from it.
3) AROMA: musky and milky. The way buffalos are fed determines the quality of the milk and, as a consequence, of all dairy products derived from it. Hay and maize, the basic feed for Campania’s buffalos, give a fresh musky taste to their milk. Another aroma easy to recognize is that of fresh milk.
4) TASTE: a milky and unsalted acidity. The first mouthful is slightly acidic and creamy, with a clear taste of fresh milk. After this comes a sensation of persistent and satisfying creaminess, which amplifies the taste of the mozzarella.
5) CONSISTENCY: chewy toughness. An indication of freshness and quality of a buffalo mozzarella is that it is chewy and crisp to the taste: shortly after it has been produced it should be nicely chewy and crisp. Only when it is no longer at its freshest, this cheese becomes soft and tender.
We wish to remind you that the best moment to eat the mozzarella is the same day it is bought; if it is not eaten immediately, it should be kept in a fresh place, and kept in the liquid in which it came. If it is placed in a fridge, it is necessary to take it out some time before serving, as it should be eaten at room temperature to be able to fully enjoy its taste.
The denomination of protected origin, better known as DOP, is a legally enforced denomination assigned by the European Union to products that are essentially linked, on the basis of their ingredients and production methods, to a specific geographical area. DOP products are also defined by specific types of craftmanship, only and exclusively found in the area of production. All these factors combined together permit to obtain a product inimitable outside a determined productive area.
In order to be certified DOP, a product must be produced entirely within and with ingredients coming from the certified area. Producers have to keep to and respect the strict rules and regulations established for said type of production. DOP products are regulated by a specific board of control, which guarantees all the regulations are respected.
By Alfredo Iannaccone
Edited by Francesca Bezzone