One of the things I miss about Italy is the bocconcini made from water buffalo milk — mozzarella di bufala. It’s splendid, and almost impossible to get in Canada, from what I’ve seen. (Of course you can buy bocconcini at most supermarkets here, but that stuff is almost certainly made from cows’ milk. What’s worse is that it’s been sitting around for too long, and is almost not worth eating by the time it gets to your table. Even if you do see mozzarella di bufala, it’s likely imported from Italy and no longer fresh.)
So can you imagine how pleased I was to learn that a farm on Vancouver Island has set up a water buffalo dairy? And yes, they’re making mozzarella di bufala!
Here’s an article about the enterprise from the Globe and Mail: Curdling till the buffalo come home.
The orb of pristine cheese in Paul Sutter’s hand is soft and shiny, the picture of youth in the cheese world.
"It’s very delicate at this point," says the Courtenay, B.C., cheese maker, cradling the day-old white mozzarella in his palm like an oversized poached egg.
This cheese is like any good ball of fresh Italian bocconcini, but it’s the first artisan buffalo-milk mozzarella commercially made in Canada. It’s moist on the inside, with the typical striated layers created by stretching the warmed mass of freshly coagulated curds. It’s encased in a tight, thin skin, formed when the cheese is pulled and hand-pinched into a neat round ball.
And like the original — the famed Mozzarella di Bufala Campana — it is made from buffalo milk: a dense, sweet, high-fat milk used to create the finest fresh cheeses.
The milk comes from Fairburn Farm in British Columbia’s Cowichan Valley, the only water buffalo dairy in Canada, where owners Darrel and Anthea Archer have just begun to produce enough buffalo milk to create this new Canadian product. [continue]
This is extra good news for anyone within striking distance of the Cowichan Valley.