One of the most popular Italian cheeses is mozzarella. Whether the cheese is in a main dish or a side dish, a topping for pizza, or added to a salad, recipes with mozzarella are sure to please.
The history of mozzarella dates back to the first century A.D. in Southern Italy. Early records show the Romans were already producing the cheese using sheep's milk. Legend has it that the discovery of mozzarella happened because a few cheese curds accidentally dropped into a pail of hot water. The cheese we now call "mozzarella" was formerly known as "Mozza." This is because of a tradition during the third century when monks from San Lorenzo di Capua would distribute some bread and self-made cheese to people in need, which they called "Mozza."
When water buffalo farming emerged in the 16th century, mozzarella from sheep's milk was replaced by what we now consider authentic "mozzarella di bufala" (buffalo milk mozzarella). It was in the 20th century that mozzarella became widely available across Europe and America. Thanks to refrigeration that made it possible to ship the cheese. Due to the tremendous demand, mozzarella is now made using cow's milk, which is milder in flavor than buffalo milk.
5 FUN FACTS ABOUT THE MOZZARELLA CHEESE
- Mozzarella surpassed cheddar as America's most famous cheese.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese is typically white, but occasionally, depending on the animal's diet, it may be somewhat yellow.
- Mozzarella cheese contains high amounts of moisture, so it must be eaten fairly quickly after it's made.
- You can refrigerate Mozzarella cheese with a low moisture content for up to one month before it turns sour.
- Fresh mozzarella pairs well with fruits such as melons, pears, and berries and cured meats such as ham, making it an ideal ingredient for your charcuterie board.
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