"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Burrata of Puglia

Burrata will change the way you think and feel about cheese, it might even change the way you think and feel about life. It is the celebrity of cheeses. It is delivered like a present and filled with surprises. The first time I tried this cheese it was brought in by the Director of the restaurant at Cefalicchio, Donato. Then we had it again when it was brought in by a visiting friend from Slow Food University. This specialty is pronounced boor-RAH-tah and it is essentially a hollow ball of mozzarella that is filled with stracciatella and fresh cream. It comes in different sizes but the smallest is about the size of a tennis ball and the picture above is of a large one that is about the size of a child's face. Once you cut into the cheese, which has a mozzarella texture, you will be delighted with a thick, creamy, silky center that slowly oozes out onto your plate like a chocolate souffle. The name Burrata is derived from the word "burro" which means butter in Italian. In the cream are curds of stracciatella which are essentially shreds of mozzarella. I was reading the article, Buttery Burrata, on Travel Lady blog and would like to share some of her burrata discoveries:
"Many cheese connoisseurs recognize burrata as one of the best fresh cheeses in the world. Pure, sweet, fresh cheese is different from the rest of its cheese cousins because it is not aged. Fresh cheeses are made today and off to market tomorrow. Mozarella is one of the simplest and quickest cheeses to make. It can take less than eight hours to go from milk to finished product. The method used to make burrata is the same as mozzarella differing only in the stretching technique used and the fact that burrata has a filling...According to cheese experts, the quality of this “mother of mozzarella” correlates directly to what the cows eat, where they graze, the water they drink, the distances they travel and even the air they breathe. All of these factors combine to make a unique and exquisite cheese."
Here is another picture of a bowl of burrata that are about the size of tennis balls.

After doing some research I found out that until recently burrata had to be flown in from Italy, but now there are domestic producers in Canada and the US.
The company Di Stefano out of Southern California makes and ships burrata. Gioia Cheese Company can overnight the cheese to you and they are based in Southern California too. You can also order it from iGourmet which is based in Texas. Please let me know if you learn of any other burrata producers in North America!

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