Thursday, 12 February 2009

Laverstoke Park Farm Buffalo Mozzarella

I really didn’t think it was possible to get excited about mozzarella.

An ashed chevre, a gooey vacherin or a wedge of pungent stilton. These are cheeses to get excited about, cheeses with soul, cheeses that will happily slap you round the cheeks, badmouth your siblings and shout obscenities on the way down.

But mozzarella? It has always been something to melt onto a margarita or serve up with a few slices of tomato and some hastily torn basil leaves to create a half-arsed salad. It’s a cheese that might make you a cup of sweet tea whilst showing you a slideshow of their recent trip to the Cotswolds.

Those stringy balls of non-descript, lacklustre cheese suspended, implant like, in saline solution gradually hardening into inedibility? Not worthy of praise. They are barely worthy of pizza.

It might melt into gratifyingly long strings that somehow manage to break just before you run out of arm. And, granted, it can carry other flavours and act as a vehicle for herbs, olive oil or black pepper. But I would never have considered that it could stand on its own and just be, well, a cheese.

Until yesterday.

The luxurious life of a freelance food writer

As I mentioned, I was invited to the official launch of Laverstoke Park Farm’s latest product: a truly British mozzarella made from the milk of free-range water buffalo that graze happily on the Hampshire grasslands of Jody Scheckter’s organic and bio-dynamic farm.

Photo courtesy of Cristian Barnett

Apparently, the secret to good mozzarella is freshness. By the time we pluck it from its salty bath it will be at least a week old. And that’s assuming we have access to a good quality deli. God only knows how long those cosmetic surgery bags that supermarkets manage to pass off as mozzarella have been sat there.

But the fresh stuff is something else. It needs no adornments, no additions, no added extras like oil or pepper. It really is good enough to bite right into to enjoy the unique burst of freshness.

Photo courtesy of Cristian Barnett

The flavour is both gentle and rich, subtle and acidic, soft yet cheeky, without being intrusive and manages to coat and cleanse the palate concurrently.

This cheese wouldn’t make you a cup of sweet tea: it would mix a perfect martini then invite you up for coffee.

In short, it is just really, really good and sure to cause a few ripples in a nation that has grown used to the insipid balls of plasticy pap that float around like the eggs of some bizarre sea creature dreamt up by Jules Verne on a bad day.

Fancy trying it yourself? Just go to the Laverstoke Park Online Farm Shop where you can order it to be delivered straight to your door. And treat yourself to some buffalo steaks while you’re at it – they are as good as, if not better than, the best beef I’ve ever tasted.

Sometimes it pays to be a food blogger.

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Anonymous said...

You must try burrata. Its mozarella, but better. It will change your life.

Anonymous said...

Sweet tea and slideshow of recent trip? I would have been offended if I weren't laughing out loud. I love mozzarella, but perfectly fresh buffalo mozzarella must be amazing. Lucky Britain.

Candy said...

Sounds soooo good! I envy your job.

Anonymous said...

I agree with gastroanthropologist. My first taste of burrata made me actually weep. It's mozzarella to the nth degree, so creamy.

dp said...

Welcome to the club! I had the same revelation when I tried buffalo mozzarella in Italy last year. So different from the stuff available here in the States. Lucky for you to have a producer nearby.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I love a good, fresh mozzarella! I will have to try some of the Laverstoke Park one.

Nina Timm said...

How lucky can you see those little balls of fresh cheese fall out like that! I bet the taste is far superior....

Just Cook It said...

gastro - sounds fantastic, I'll be sure to hunt some out as soon as I can

lisaiscooking - sorry to have, almost , offended! The fresh stuff really is worth seeking out.

candy girl - thanks, it was pretty special.

Cynthia - Ditto

DP - I know, it was a real revelation

Foodycat - Give it a go, it's worth every penny

Nina - thanks for stopping by and commenting. The taste was like nothing else. Really, really good.

Jeanne said...

Oh my word - freshe-as-a-daisy buffalo mozzarella. Now that sounds wonderful. And made by an ex-Formula 1 world champ from my homeland too!

Lorna said...

So pleased you enjoyed watching it being made, and of course even better eating it :) We are in the process of perfecting our Burrata, have a look at our new blog to find out more -