Region: Lazio and Campania (DOC)
Milk: Pasteurized Water Buffalo
In the 16th century, water buffalo were introduced to work the north river valleys, easing the burden of rice cultivation. The gamy, earthy milk may not have been so good for drinking, but when cooked and curdled it produced a legend. The cheese curds were drained, then plunged into hot whey until they become elastic. Cut into strips and plunged into whey again, they were kneaded, stretched and moulded into shape? Mozzarella di Bufala! This stark white, rindless pasta filata cheese has the distinct undeniable flavor of its milk, and transcends salads, sandwiches crostini and focaccia to a plateau closer to heaven than earth.