If buffalo wings could fly, we’d have cheese in the sky

March 30th, 2011 § 0 comments

Culinary genius Jessica Simpson gave us the following two gems: While ordering take-out her husband at the time suggested Buffalo Wings and Jess said: ‘Ah didn’t know buffaloes had wings?!’ And on another occasion, again ordering take-out, she asked what tuna was and he replied (whilst calculating the cost of a quick divorce) ‘It’s like the chicken of the sea’. So why am I talking about this again… o yes! Yesterday I dragged my weary bones to Mozzarella SA in Kloof Street to settle the local vs Italian mozzarella debate for myself.

The selection was a bit underwhelming but an Italian on duty told me deliveries were due later that day. He was helpful, though a tad exasperated by my mozzarella-101 questions. I settled for the only true Italian buffalo mozzarella (R50 for 125g) and a cheese which they make themselves, from cow’s milk but using Italian machines. This range boasts different styles of mozzarella so I chose the one best suited to a Caprese salad, at R30 for 250g.

Mozzarella face-off

Top is Italian, bottom is local. The SPAR closest to me had a truly shocking tomato selection so excuse the green around the gills tomato. First up, the Sofia Loren of mozzarella:

And it was…bliss. Creamy taste and texture. None of that watery chloride taste so typical of mozzarella in this country. The consistency is what sets it apart. From the centre to the edges it’s the same. It wobbles yet holds itself without fraying. My friend Leon thought it felt just like a silicone implant – which is odd cause he bats for the home team – but I’m inclined to go with his appraisal.

One of this world's perfect combos

And then the locally made (by Italians with an Italian machine using local cow’s milk) cheese. The edges crumble while the centre is dense. Taste-wise it just doesn’t compare. No wonder my cousin flatly states: ‘Mozzarella is over-rated as a cheese.’

Dense and edgy

But as my dear departed friend Edric used to say: ‘When faced with two options, choose the third’. Enter Mr Wayne Rademeyer of Buffalo Ridge Mozzarella. An imported herd of buffalo produce the milk that he turns into local buffalo mozzarella. Mozzarella SA doesn’t stock it and I had no idea where to find it late last night so I grumpily concluded that my mozzarella face-off was one worthy contender short. Little did I know that Bertus Basson would provide the missing link at lunch the next day. A beautifully crafted little salad, using Buffalo Ridge cheese. It’s almost as good as the imported stuff… and better than the locally produced Italian cheese. And with Bertus putting his own spin on the Caprese, it was an all-round taste bomb.

Flavour knock-out

But more about this lush little salad in my Overture post. To conclude, I’d buy mozzarella as follows:

I’m depressed screw everybody I need something amazing to make this world right: Buy imported Italian. And have it all on your own.

I want to make a delicious, quality, impressive Caprese: Buy Buffalo Ridge and share it with pride.

I want to bake this in the oven with lots of garlic, sauce etc: Buy the other stuff.

But I’ll probably disagree with the last one once I do a BAKED mozzarella face-off. Winter’s a comin….

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