The Consorzio di Tutela della Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, created in 1981, is the only organisation acknowledged by theDepartment for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies for the protection, safeguarding, improvement and promotion of this extraordinary cheese from Central and Southern Italy that is loved throughout the world.
The Consortium’s purpose is the protection of the production and commercialisation of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, the defence of the denomination in Italy and abroad, the encouragement of continuous improvement in the Mozzarella’s production methods and the consequent qualitative improvement of its production. It also aims to constantly check on production and commercialisation and, in particular, on the correct usage of the Denomination of Origin. Mozzarella di Bufala Campana was awarded the prestigious European Denomination of Origin status in 1966. This award is made in order to officially recognise the organoleptic and merchandise qualities of this cheese and mainly depends on the environmental conditions and the traditional working methods existing in the specific area of production.
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana represents the most important Dop brand in central-southern Italy and is the fourth at national levels and the third amongst the Italian Dop cheeses.
Safeguards and Control
The Inspection Department of the Consortium covers the entire national territory and works by means of a control agent with the qualifications of a police role, who takes samples of retail products and analyses them in the laboratories of the Central Fraud Protection Inspectorate of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies.
It must, furthermore, record any irregularities for the area concerned, issue sanctions and/or administrative withdrawals of products and/or their packaging.
History and Origins
The expression “mozzarella” derives from the verb “mozzare” (to cut off) or, in other words, the operation that is still performed in all dairies where the cheese is manually handled with a characteristic movement and pieces of stringy curd are then detached with index fingers and thumbs to form the individual mozzarellas in their most typical, round form.
The 12th century, when the buffalos were increasingly appreciated for their milk yield and thereby consolidating their presence in the coastal plains of the Volturno and the Sele rivers, produced the first historic documents that evidence how the monks of the San Lorenzo in Capua monastery offered a cheese called “mozza” or “provatura” (when smoked), accompanied by a slice of bread, to the pilgrims from the metropolitan capitol who, in accordance with ancient tradition, arrived in procession every year at the Convent’s church.
There are various pieces of evidence from the 14th century that testify to the commercialisation of buffalo milk derivates, usually destined for the prosperous Neapolitan and Salerno markets. For obvious reasons of viability, the only ones reaching them were the “mozze” and, above all, the “provature” the smoking of which extended the product’s commercial life. However, it would be necessary to wait until 1570 before the expression “mozzarella” appears for the first time in the famous text by Barolomeo Scappi, chef to the Papal court.
It was only towards the end of the 18th century that mozzarella became a widely consumed product also thanks to the establishment, on the part of the Bourbons, of a large buffalo farm with an experimental dairy attached for the transformation of the milk, at the Reggia di Carditello, the royal estate of the Spanish dynasty in the province of Caserta.
With Italy’s unification, the “Taverna” was established in Aversa. This was an authentic wholesale market for mozzarella and other dairy products from the
same milk, of which special note should be taken of the ‘ricotta’ for which quotations were established on a daily basis in relation to both production and demand. Commerce was regulated on the basis of proper contracts that came into force from 1 September to 31 August of the following year and were drawn up between the buffalo owners, who transformed the milk, and the product distributors.
The mozzarella was collected from the “pagliare” or “difesa” sites of production, already weighed and wrapped in marsh rush or cranberry leaves and carefully placed in wicker or chestnut crates, to be transported to the shop premises.
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP forms part of the fresh, stringy paste cheeses produced exclusively with buffalo milk from the area of origin and created with a technological process that complies with the production regulations. With the inclusion in the EU register of Denomination of Protected Origin in 1996, the organoleptic and merchandise characteristics of the typical mozzarella of Campania buffalo milk was officially recognised on the basis of the environmental conditions and traditional working practices that exist in the specific and limited area of production.
How to Keep it
In order to enjoy its characteristic flavour at its best, it is advisable to eat the mozzarella on the same day of buying it. If not eaten immediately, it is best to keep it in a cool environment but still immersed in its own liquid. If placed in the fridge, take care to take it out some time before eating so that it returns to room temperature as this enhances the flavour.
An Extraordinary Animal
This is a long living and strong animal that does not suffer the heat. On average, they weigh around 1100 lbs and bear only one calf at a time (although there are rare cases of twin births). The gestation period lasts around 270 days. Grazing, hay, fodder or raw materials are the basis of its nutrition.
This extraordinary animal is much more than even the most common myths that have been created around its name. The expression “rage like a buffalo” could not be further from the truth as this is a beast that is both very calm and very patient. The expression (in Italian) of something being a ‘bufala’ or something untrue has nothing in common with the “bubalus” whose story is true to the core. This is evidenced by the genuine and unique nature of the product derived from its milk: mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP.
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