Day 5: Mozzarella
I confess to having a soft spot for a few Italian cheeses. I remember the first time I tasted real mozzarella. Not the kind that comes in a plastic tub. Not the rubbery brick that we find at American supermarkets. The real deal, white like snow, sitting in its brine. The kind where, when you bite into it, it gives way to a gorgeous creamy, salty, decadent texture and taste. As it’s the summer, a few heirloom tomatoes, some fresh basil, sea salt and cracked pink pepper are all you need for a perfect lunch.
Mozzarella belongs to a family of cheese that is not part of France cheese history, pâte filée in French or pasta filata ("spun cheese") in Italian. The cheese-making starts as with all others. The curds are separated from the whey. Following this, the curds rest and are then returned to very hot water (or the whey) and then kneaded until they become stringy and elastic. In the case of mozzarella or burrata, the cheese is eaten shortly after its fabrication. Other cheeses, such as provolone can be aged. Sometimes these cheeses are brined and even smoked.