Off an on for the past few months I’ve been following the trash saga in Naples. Essentially, they’ve run out of places to put the trash, or as the NY Times suggests, they ran out ages ago and relied on organized crime to illegally remove and dump trash. Well, it seems this benign neglect and inertia of the people in charge has finally come to bite them in the ass. The illegally dumped trash is polluting water buffalo milk and the buffalos are producing tainted milk and mozzarella. In classic Italian fashion, rather than get to the root of the problem, according to the NT Times article, the immediate reaction is to counter the bans that other countries are putting in place to stop buffalo mozzarella from being imported.
It’s not until the bottom few paragraphs that they discuss the need to find a place for the trash so that the problem does not continue. Italian domestic consumption of buffalo mozzarella has already dropped by 40%, but the health commission isn’t meeting until tomorrow to start discussing the problem. Nothing quite like jumping up and nipping a problem in the bud.
The other burning question is why aren’t cows affected? Many mozzarella producers raise cows and water buffalo, so why the distinction? Is no one testing cow milk mozzarella? And could that be because the industry is so much larger, and better organized? Or am I just too cynical?
The cheese in the picture is ‘burrata’, a type of buffalo mozzarella that has a normal mozzarella type skin, and a creamy, buttery, runny, delicious inside. My son brought some this weekend from Philadelphia’s Italian market. We made a sauce with basil, a touch of mint, lemon juice and olive oil to anoint this excellent, locally made burrata.It was as tasty as any I’ve eaten in Italy, it was superb and proof that mozzarella is probably best when eaten from a local source.