Buffalo mozzarella

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Buffalo mozzarella
Mozzabuffala 2.jpg
Country of origin Italy
Region Campania, Lazio, Apulia and Molise
Source of milk Italian water buffalo
Texture Fresh
Dimensions 10 x 10 x 6 cm
Weight 1 to 20 ounces
Certification Mozzarella di Bufala Campana:
Italy: DOC 1993
EU: PDO 1996
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

Buffalo mozzarella (Italian: mozzarella di bufala) is a mozzarella made from the milk of Mediterranea Italiana buffalo. It is a dairy product traditionally manufactured in Campania, especially in the provinces of Caserta and Salerno.

The term mozzarella derives from the procedure called mozzare which means "cutting by hand", separating from the curd, and serving in individual pieces, that is, the process of separation of the curd into small balls. It is appreciated for its versatility and elastic texture and often called "the queen of the Mediterranean cuisine", "white gold" or "the pearl of the table".

The buffalo mozzarella sold as Mozzarella di Bufala Campana has been granted the status of Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC – "Controlled designation of origin") since 1993.[citation needed] Since 1996[1] it is also protected under the EU's Protected Designation of Origin or DOP Denominazione di origine protetta and Protected Geographical Indication schemes. The protected origin's appellation requires that it may only be produced with a traditional recipe in select locations in the regions of Campania, Lazio, Apulia and Molise.[2][3]

Areas of production[edit]

A water buffalo on a farm in Paestum.

In Italy, the cheese is produced nationwide using Italian buffalo's milk under the government's official name Mozzarella di latte di bufala because Italian buffalo is in all Italian regions. Only selected type Mozzarella di bufala campana PDO is produced in areas ranging from Rome in Lazio to Paestum near Salerno in Campania, and there are production areas in the province of Foggia, Apulia, and in Venafro, Molise.[4] Buffalo mozzarella is a €300m ($330m) a year industry in Italy, which produces around 33,000 tonnes of it every year, with 16 percent sold abroad (mostly in the European Union). France and Germany are the main importers, but sales to Japan and Russia are growing.[5]

Apart from Italy, its birthplace, buffalo mozzarella is manufactured in many other countries around the world. There are producers in Switzerland,[6] the United States,[7][8][9][10] Australia,[11] Mexico, Brazil, Canada, China,[12] Japan, Venezuela, Argentina, the United Kingdom, near Macroom in Ireland, Spain, Sweden,[13] Colombia,[14] Thailand,[15] Israel, Egypt,[16] India[17] and South Africa,[18] all using milk from their own herds of water buffaloes.

Mozzarella di Bufala Campana[edit]

Buffalo mozzarella from Campania bears the "Mozzarella di Bufala Campana" trademark. In 1993, it was granted Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) status, in 1996 the trademark received registry number 1107/96[19] and in 2008 the European Union granted Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Protected Geographical Status and PDO indicator.[20] The Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio di Bufala Campana ("Consortium for the Protection of the Buffalo Cheese of Campania") is an organization of approximately 200 producers, that, under Italian law, is responsible for the "protection, surveillance, promotion and marketing" of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana.[21][22]

Among the many other Italian cheeses that have PDO status are Gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Asiago cheese.

History in Italy[edit]

The history of water buffalo in Italy is not settled. One theory is that Asian water buffalo were brought to Italy by Goths during the migrations of the early medieval period.[23] However, according to the Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, the "most likely hypothesis" is that they were introduced by Normans from Sicily in 1000, and that Arabs had introduced them into Sicily.[24] The Consorzio per la Tutela also refers to fossil evidence (the prehistoric European Water Buffalo, Bubalus murrensis) suggesting that water buffalo may have originated in Italy.[25] A fourth theory is that water buffalo were brought from Mesopotamia into the Near East by Arabs and then introduced into Europe by pilgrims and returning crusaders.[16]

"In ancient times, the buffalo was a familiar sight in the countryside, since it was widely used as a draught animal in ploughing compact and watery terrains, both because of its strength and the size of its hooves, which do not sink too deeply into moist soils."[citation needed]

References to cheese products made from water buffalo milk appeared for the first time at the beginning of the twelfth century.[citation needed] Buffalo mozzarella became widespread throughout the south of Italy from the second half of the eighteenth century, before which it had been produced only in small quantities.[26]

Production in and around Naples was briefly interrupted during World War II, when retreating German troops slaughtered the area's water buffalo herds, and recommenced a few years after the armistice was signed.[27][28][29][30]

Dioxine scandal since 2008[edit]

In 2008, traces of dioxine were found in samples of buffalo milk produced in Campania.[31] These, together with massive increase of cancers and malformations, were attributed to the illegal practise of burning toxic garbage in the territories of Caserta and Naples provinces controlled by Camorra (the so-called terra dei fuochi), and brought to a temporary import prohibition of mozzarella by some countries.[31] In late 2013, declarations of a Camorra pentito held in 1997 in front of a parliament commission about the extent of these illegal practises brought to a massive decrease of Campania's Buffalo Mozzarella sales in Italy and abroad, pushing the Italian government to create a land register of polluted agricultural parcels in Campania.[31][32] Although analyses of Campania's Buffalo Mozzarella held in Germany on behalf of Italian consumer associations in December 2013 found level of dioxine and heavy metals in the examined samples at most five times lower than the allowed maximum,[33] the pollution problem in these zones remains.[34]

Production stages[edit]

To produce 1 kg (2.2 lb) of cheese, a cheese maker requires 8 kg (18 lb) of cow milk but only 5 kg (11 lb) of buffalo milk. Producing 1 kg of butter requires 14 kg (31 lb) of cow milk but only 10 kg (22 lb) of buffalo milk.[16]

The steps required to produce buffalo mozzarella are:[35][36]

  1. Milk storage (raw buffalo milk stored in steel containers).
  2. Milk heating (thermic treatment to the liquid, then poured into a cream separator).
  3. Curdling (by introduction of natural whey).
  4. Curd maturation (the curd lies in tubs to reduce the acidifying processes and reach a pH value of about 4.95).
  5. Spinning (hot water is poured on the curd to soften it, obtaining pasta filata).
  6. Shaping (with special rotating shaper machines).
  7. Cooling (by immersion in cold water).
  8. Pickling (by immersion in pickling tubs containing the original whey).
  9. Packaging (in special films cut as bags or in small basins and plastic).


The digestive system of water buffaloes permits them to turn low grade vegetation into rich milk which, due to its higher percentage of solids, provides higher levels of protein, fat and minerals than cow milk.[37]

Contents for 100 g (3.5 oz) buffalo milk:[26]

  • proteins 3.72–4.2% [a]
  • fat 7.5% [a]
  • vitamin A mg 0.15
  • vitamin B mg 0.003
  • vitamin B1 mg 0.3
  • calcium mg 169 [a]
  • phosphorus mg 380
  • sodium mg 0.4
  • iron mg 0.7
  • energy content 270 Kcal/100 g
  1. ^ a b c Source: National Dairy Council, 1993


Generally, buffalo mozzarella is enjoyed with calzone, vegetable, salad (for example, insalata Caprese), on pizza (a low moisture content buffalo mozzarella is preferred), on grilled bread, with tomatoes, or by itself accompanied by olive oil.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.mozzarelladibufala.org/dop.htm
  2. ^ "Amendment Application Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006". Official Journal of the European Communities. European Commission. 50: C 90/5–9. 25 March 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Commission Regulation (EC) No 103/2008". Official Journal of the European Communities. European Commission. 51: L 31/31. 5 February 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, Consorzio di Tutela (2008). "The Product: Production Zone". 
  5. ^ Charter, David (2008-03-29). "Buffalo mozzarella in crisis after pollution fears at Italian farms". The Times. London. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  6. ^ Tagliabue, John; Schangnau Journal (2006-06-12). "Buffalo Milk in Swiss Mozzarella Adds Italian Accent". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  7. ^ "Bufalina AC real Mozzarella Cheese". Archived from the original on 2013-01-09. 
  8. ^ "Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella". Tavolatalk. Realmozzarella.com. 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  9. ^ "water buffalo cheese, yogurt, and specialty meats". Bufala di Vermont. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  10. ^ "Water Buffalo Mozzarella". Cookography. 2008-06-07. 
  11. ^ "Welcome to the Australian Buffalo Industry Council". Buffaloaustralia.org. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  12. ^ http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/m/yunnan/cultureindustry/2013-12/13/content_17177218.htm
  13. ^ "Ängsholmens Gårdsmejeri | Producent av Svensk Buffelmozzarella". www.angsholmensgardsmejeri.se. Retrieved 2016-10-04. 
  14. ^ Seno, L. O.; V. L. Cardoso and H. Tonhati (2006). "Responses to selection for milk traits in dairy buffaloes". Genetics and Molecular Research. 5 (4): 790–6. PMID 17183486. Retrieved 2008-10-19. Borghese and Mazzi (2005) presented a comprehensive review on the Buffalo populations and production systems in the world. According to these authors, Brazil has the largest buffalo herd size in South America, followed by Venezuela, Argentina and Colombia. Buffaloes were imported into Brazil between the 1940s and 1960s, where the ideal conditions such as thriving pastures, water, grazing space, and suitable temperatures were available. In the 1970s Brazilian buffalo breeders began to use these animals for dairy and meat production. 
  15. ^ Janssen, Peter (2008-08-11). "Italian mountaineers cut the cheese in Thailand". Expatica.com. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  16. ^ a b c National Research Council (2002). "Introduction". The Water Buffalo: New Prospects for an Underutilized Animal. Books For Business. ISBN 0-89499-193-0. OCLC 56613238. 
  17. ^ Cox, Antoon (2008-01-13). "Italian cheese, sold in the US, made in India". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  18. ^ "South Africa's 1st Real Buffalo Mozzarella". Slow Food (Johannesburg). 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2015-07-08. 
  19. ^ Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, Consorzio di Tutela (2008). "The Consortium: History of The Organization". The Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP trademark (Protected Name of Origin) was registered with the European Community Regulation no. 1107 of 1996, three years after it was given the D.O.C. mark (D.P.C.M. of 10/05/1993). 
  20. ^ European Commission (2008-02-05). "Commission Regulation (EC) No 103/2008 of 4 February 2008 approving non-minor amendments to the specification for a name entered in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications — Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (PDO)". Official Journal of the European Union. L 31: 31. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  21. ^ Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, Consorzio di Tutela (2008). "The Consortium: History of The Organization". The Consortium is the only organization recognized by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural and Forestry Policies (MIPAF) for the protection, surveillance, promotion and marketing of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana. 
  22. ^ PDO Archived 2013-06-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ "Mozzarella di Bufala". Forno Bravo Cooking. Forno Bravo, LLC. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. Retrieved 2008-10-16. It all starts with the Asian Buffalo, brought to Italy by the Goths, as they migrated southwest during the waning years of the Roman empire. 
  24. ^ Mozzarella di Bufala Campagna DOP, Consorzio di Tutela (2008). "History". There are many theories on their Italian beginnings: the most likely hypothesis is that the Norman kings, around the year 1000, brought them into southern Italy from Sicily, where they had been introduced by the Arabs. 
  25. ^ Mozzarella di Bufala Campagna DOP, Consorzio di Tutela (2008). "History". However, others believe that the buffalo originated in Italy, a theory that is based on fossils found in the Roman countryside, as well as from results of recent studies that appear to demonstrate that Italian buffalos have a different phylogeny than Indian buffalos. 
  26. ^ a b "Campana Buffalo's Mozzarella Cheese". Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  27. ^ The Cheese Companion by Judy Ridgway (Running Press, 2004,) 123
  28. ^ The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cheeses of the World by Steve Ehlers and Jeanette Hurt (Penguin, 2008), 96
  29. ^ "Mozarella" by Laura Weiss in The Oxford companion to American food and drink edited by Andrew F. Smith (Oxford University Press 2007), 394
  30. ^ Brooklyn: a state of mind by Michael W. Robbins and Wendy Palitz (Workman Publishing 2000), 306
  31. ^ a b c "Il triangolo della morte". Salute pubblica. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  32. ^ "Terra dei fuochi, il pentito Schiavone nel '97:". Repubblica. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  33. ^ "Controlli". Il fatto alimentare. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  34. ^ "Basta minimizzare, l'emergenza nella Terra dei fuochi c'è e va affrontata". Legambiente. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  35. ^ "Mozzarella di Bufala Campana" (in Italian). Formaggio.it. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  36. ^ Anuttama (2007-03-12). How to turn milk into mozzarella cheese. YouTube. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  37. ^ Caramanica, Susie (May 2005). "Buffalo Mozzarella: An Italian Original". TED Case Studies. Trade Environment Database. 776. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  38. ^ "Campana Buffalo's Mozzarella Cheese: How To Enjoy". MozzarelladiBufal.org. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 

Further reading[edit]

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