By Jeri Barry
A fresh cheese originating in Italy that takes mozzarella to a whole new level! (And is made in Wisconsin!)
How can a cheese whose name means “buttered” in Italian not be delicious? That was my question when I ordered a simple salad of fresh tomatoes and burrata while dining at Campiello in Naples, Florida last winter. Needless to say, it was love at first bite and has led to a bit of an obsession on my part with this artisinal cheese.
Wikipedia defines Burrata as a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. It starts as a sheet of fresh mozzarella made into a sack. This sack is then filled with fresh ricotta and shreds of mozzarella, topped off with cream and tied into a ball. When sliced, the cream and curds ooze out and add a creamy texture to anything you pair it with. Originating in Puglia, a region in the South of Italy around 1920, it is believed that cheese makers found it a good way to utilize the ritagli (“scraps” or “rags” of mozzarella) which are a byproduct of the cheese making process. I cannot think of a better recycling project.
Although it originated in Italy, burrata no longer has to be imported. As a matter of fact it is made by a renowned Wisconsin cheese maker: BelGioioso. Located in Green Bay, BelGioioso’s burrata recently won an award at the American Cheese Society competition. Locally it is available (sporadically) at Festival Foods. You can also find it at specialty stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market and at Nala’s Fromagerie in Green Bay. It is my hope that more of our local markets will carry it as demand increases.
Burrata’s popularity is growing and recipes utilizing it abound. The blog Shredded Sprout featured a recipe for Shredded Brussels sprouts with burrata. On his blog Platter Talk, local resident, Dan Zehr, refers to burrata as “life changing” in his post highlighting Caprese salad with burrata cheese. In addition, burrata can be eaten on crostini or bread, in salads and pastas, as a pizza topping, in soups and as a dessert. At Zuppas we recently featured burrata in our evening special salad.
Have you tried burrata? Do you have any recipe ideas? Have you seen it in any local markets not mentioned above? We would love your comments and thoughts!