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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Local, Store-Bought Burrata Stands up to its Italian Inspiration

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge burrata.jpg
One time in Italy we were told, with a hint of condescension, that we couldn't possibly have had "real" buffalo mozzarella in the States, as it hails from only one Italian town and was only eaten on the day it was made.

Unless you feel a need to throw out your bread after its baking day, I would argue we get pretty close to the real thing right here in the Bay.

Berkeley based Belfiore Cheese makes exceptional Mozzarella and Burrata, both of which won the most recent American Cheese Society competition. If you're a Delfina, Pi Bar, Gather, or Little Star fan you've probably had Belfiore mozzarella, which you can also buy at specialty grocers.

The cheeses are immersed in brine, just like in mother Italy, and packed in individual rectangular boxes that give them a thirty day shelve life -- slightly more convenient than the sub-20-hour expectation of our Italian acquaintance.

These are cow milk cheeses, so they lack the sharp tang one gets from true buffalo milk, and the flavor is smooth, thick, and creamy. Slices of Belfiore's Fior Di Latte mozzarella and tomatoes with a squirt of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt flakes is a Corsican summer in a salad. The thick skin of the mozzarella and the dense interior, which tears when you slice it, are authentic enough to transport me to my favorite Italian sandwich shop.

Burrata, a long time restaurant favorite, is a small bag of mozzarella, filled with cream and more mozz. Belfiore's flavor is milky-creamy-gooey goodness, like whole un-homogenized milk made semi-solid. Once again, adding EVOO and a pinch of salt is a straight trip to an Italian trattoria.

Belfiore mozzarella is about $4 for 8 ounces, and Burrata is about $6 at Whole Foods, Mollie Stone's, Bi Rite, Rainbow Grocery, and Berkeley Bowl,

Contact Ben Narisin at sfoodieben@gmail.com . Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodieand like us on Facebook.

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Ben Narasin

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