There’s only one mozzarella. Actually, three

In Paestum, all sorts of ideas for the buffalo milk cheese, soon to have a frozen version. Meanwhile at LSDM...

30-04-2017

Antonia Klugmann smiles happily at Le Strade della Mozzarella, the April 2017 edition. At  Masterchef they had just announced she’ll be the fourth judge, replacing Carlo Cracco

How about mozzarella? Marco Bolasco asked me on Wednesday towards the evening. Indeed we had seen and eaten little of it during the first of the two days of Le Strade della Mozzarella in Paestum, Salerno. And one shouldn’t even be too surprised because since a few editions ago, the event created and organised by Barbara Guerra and Albert Sapere, with the significant help of Luciano Pignataro, is no longer called thus.

Born and raised as Le Strade della Mozzarella, implying buffalo milk mozzarella - which has one of its capitals in Paestum and the surroundings, the other being Caserta where the consortium has its headquarter - is now presented with an acronym: LSDM. Of course it is made with the initials of the usual words, but with the lessons and tastings we’ve moved so much beyond that some use no more than 10 grams of white buffalo gold, for the sake of appearances. And I like this. Except now I’d be even more daring so that LSDM could stand for other entities, like Le Strade del Mediterraneo or del Meridione (the South) which start with an M nonetheless, even though some of the guests, some chosen mostly for their name, such as Indian Gaggan Anand and Russian Vladimir Mukhin, would have little in common with these areas.

Seafood salad by Paolo Casagrande of Lasarte in Barcelona

Seafood salad by Paolo Casagrande of Lasarte in Barcelona

This is what comes with success and it’s difficult, after a decade, to think of mozzarella with the innovative force that in the past few years Matias Perdomo or Davide Scabin released, when they literally turned it upside down, adding value to it.

Two non-stop days, following the theme of Quality and quantity in a relationship that went beyond the dish itself and wanted to embrace the difficulty that in Italy our patron-chefs face when they decide to open a new place. The idea of pairing excellent bread to the signature dishes tasted was nice, so was the lesson on dining room service held by Luca Vissani, the son of cumbersome Gianfranco. The gelatos were also good, made with buffalo milk, presented by six professionals from the Compagnia Gelatieri, including Chiara Soban, a rare female star in a world that keeps women to the counter. Chiara is about to open her gelateria in Trieste. She’s helped both by the fact she comes from one of the many gelato families linked with Val Zoldana in the province of Belluno, and by an important physique which gives power to her actions.

The boiled head of veal presented in Paestum by Martino Ruggieri, Apulian chef working at Pavillon Ledoyen with Yannick Alléno in Paris. The Italian chef presented a sort of lasagne in broth, made with meat and mozzarella which are usually in the menu in the French capital

The boiled head of veal presented in Paestum by Martino Ruggieri, Apulian chef working at Pavillon Ledoyen with Yannick Alléno in Paris. The Italian chef presented a sort of lasagne in broth, made with meat and mozzarella which are usually in the menu in the French capital

And then there was her majesty Mozzarella di Bufala Campana whose consortium, since July 2016, has its headquarters in a place of unique beauty: the Regie Cavallerizze inside the Royal Palace of Caserta. The general director is Pier Maria Saccani. He comes from Parma and so that I know well the complexity of this delicacy, he reminds me that every female buffalo, not anyone, but those from the Italian Mediterranean breed, produces 8/9 litre of milk per day, that is to say two kilos of cheese. Milk coming from outside the PDO area is not allowed, only certified products. Since a few months ago, the third Italian consortium after that of Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano, was joined by a younger brother to save Ricotta di Bufala Campana PDO, seven members and a production of 29K kilos in 2016. Think they’re many? Bear in mind mozzarella has reached 44 millions.

Tenuta Duca Marigliano, next to the temples in Paestum, was recently transformed into a lovely boutique hotel with restaurant, Casa Coloni, handed to Luigi Coppola. He made the Pollo in giro a Paestum in a fourhanded dinner with chef Alessandro Rapisarda from the Marche region

Tenuta Duca Marigliano, next to the temples in Paestum, was recently transformed into a lovely boutique hotel with restaurant, Casa Coloni, handed to Luigi Coppola. He made the Pollo in giro a Paestum in a fourhanded dinner with chef Alessandro Rapisarda from the Marche region

Without affecting the various stages of mozzarella production, new variants are about to be admitted into the PDO to respond to the market’s different needs. On top of mozzarella artigianale we’ll have one for the Ho.Re.Ca. channel, with or without its liquid, for pizza and pizzerias. Its sale to the public will be forbidden and the pack will weigh at least one kilo, more than the usual 800 grams maximum. Then there’s the chilled product mostly destined for distant markets. Those who these days use questionable mozzarellas produced locally, like in Australia, will find better alternatives with the frozen version from Campania.


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