On a fine summer’s evening in London, I headed off to taste the new season’s buffalo mozzarella. Tempted by the promise of a huge 1-kilo specimen on offer and a chance to learn more about this much-loved cheese we assembled in Rossopomodoro’s Chelsea branch on Fulham Road. They have a lovely light upstairs room where you can catch screenings of the best Italian films on Monday evenings while enjoying a meal.
One man who is an expert on all things mozzarella is Mario who had so much to tell us about the history and reasons behind the fine tasting treat in store for us. It turns out that August is the perfect month for buffalo mozzarella as the warm weather ensures the grass is at its sweetest and the buffalo are at their happiest, so the cheese is at its tastiest. The cheese itself comes from the Campania region of Italy which claims the cheese as its own through a European classification (P.D.O).
Its history may date back to the 4th century but there are definitive mentions as far back as the 9th century which is a pretty good pedigree. The name comes from the Italian to ‘cut’ and the wonderful coming together of the cheese and the pizza, the staple Neapolitan street food, gives us the great food we can enjoy today. Tomatoes, however, didn’t join the party until the 17th century when they first arrived in Europe from Mexico after the Spanish invasions.
After a great introduction, the beautiful1 kilo beast arrived – it was huge and thankfully for our waistlines, was shared among the table. You learn something new each day – did you know you mustn’t cut a mozzarella in a slice but in a wedge in order to get a good mix of the inner soft but less flavoursome part of the cheese and the outer skin which absorbs salt during the production process so adds tang to each mouthful? Freshness is the key here as they fly the cheese over from Naples twice a week to reach our tables 24 hours after it is made. Another tip from Mario is to always serve it at room temperature, never from the fridge as this improves the flavour.
To our wedge of mozzarella, we added fresh chopped tomatoes zinging with flavour and great dressing, roasted Mediterranean veg and a flatbread to make a tasty and good looking plate of food.
We moved onto the light and wonderful pizza topped with mozzarella and salami which was so good that I got some of it on my camera lens so the photo is a bit fuzzy!
Dessert was a step too far, sadly, but I’m sure their ‘dolci e gelato’ would be delish…
The season continues through August so catch the massive buffalo mozzarellas at eight of their London restaurants – check it out here.
Disclaimer: As is customary, I was invited to this tasting, but would happily have paid for the food myself.