13 May 2013

The Great Mozzarella in Carrozza Experiment While Visiting a Buffalo Mozzarella Farm in the Cilento

Mozzarella in Carrozza
When travelling through the boot of Italy I could literally fill a book recounting the many acts of kindness shown to me by Italian strangers, some who have became good friends and others with whom I crossed paths briefly and blessed me with their generosity and good humour. Each encounter added a feeling of contentment to my day when travelling solo in an unfamiliar country. This isn’t rare in Italy. In fact, society is rife with little acts of pure, selfless generosity. I have noticed it with my Italian/Canadian friends here at home, the family in the small town of Nocelle who brought me a meal when they knew I would be dining alone because of the torrential downpour, the gentleman who loaned me his cell phone for a month while I was travelling throughout the country, the attendant who loaned me a pair of beach shoes to protect my feet while on a rocky beach, I even had half of the male population of a small town parading me to my destination and "discussing" the easiest way to get there (I think they originally thought me to be a Catholic nun since I was searching for Il Convento with my broken suitcase; but that is a story for another day). These are all simple stories ingrained in my memory forever of the kindness and generosity of strangers in a land rich with history. All of these examples are typical, like saying please or thank you. In Italy generosity is a way of life.


“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying 
to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives.
 In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender
 before the miraculous scope of human generosity 
and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, 
for as long as we have voices.” 


It may sound like simple hospitality, but it goes further than that. I have discussed the Italian people and their way of "living in the moment" before and this may be the very thing I love most about Italy. If we all made a conscious effort to do one random act of kindness for a stranger today the world would be a much better place. For many, something as simple as sharing an abundance of fruit is just as natural as saying buon giorno in the morning. One final example of  Italian generosity is when I finally met the Baroness Cecilia Baratta who whisked me off on a 3 day adventure to her buffalo mozzarella farm in the Cilento. I was the ever grateful recipient of all her kindness as we explored her  beloved country in the heart of Campania.

The Coast
On our journey we cruised the two-lane highway that meanders along the rugged coast where mountains covered with green and ashy-coloured olive groves reflected in the Tyrrheanian Sea. We discovered a mix of sandy bays, rocky coves puckered with caves and imposing cliffs, dotted with sleepy fishing villages and dreamy seaside resorts adorned with riotous bougainvillea. As I peered around I was mesmerized by the colours of sapphire, opal and jade. It was a windy day and the waves pounded the shores relentlessly, beating to their own drum. The further we drove the more excited I became and answered the call of land and sea as if they were the sirens in ancient mythology. In season I could see myself spending long, lazy days swimming in some of the clearest water I've ever seen, dining at lovely waterfront restaurants and wandering around charming fishing villages.

The Cilento shows the unknown side of Campania. A little gem that is best known as the Amalfi Coast's quiet neighbour. Not yet largely present on the tourist map, it is full of mozzarella farms and rolling hills covered in vineyards and olive trees. I want to share it with the world, but, at the same time want to keep the secret all to myself. It is the land of the buffalo, where the best mozzarella in all of Italy is produced. The extraordinary beauty of this area has been preserved for centuries thanks in part to its isolation which has left the gorgeous countryside unspoilt and local traditions preserved. To explain, Cilento and the Parco Nazionale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano is a protected Italian region that boasts 100km of coastline and a wild, mountainous interior sprinkled with historic villages. Much of it is a national park, the second largest in Italy, and is a Unesco world heritage site that sits not far south of the teeming holiday centres of Naples and the jet-setting Amalfi coast. As we drove we gazed at the rocky coastline falling into the blue sea with its hundreds of grottoes. Eventually it gave way to sun-baked hilltop villages and majestic undulating, chestnut and ilex tree forests. The wild interior is Cilento's trump card where you will find many hikers crisscrossing the landscape. The Cilento is a true slice of heaven on earth where nature meets up with history. It is wonderfully authentic.

Cilento is famous for its olive oil, one of the best in Italy, that has earned the denominational marking "Olio d'Oliva Extravergine Cilento DOP." Denominazione Origine Protetta (DOP) is a national designation defining agricultural products whose quality and reputation are specific to their geographical origin. Other specialties with this designation in the area are the white fig, the buffalo mozzarella and the artichoke of Paestum IGP.

Tenuta Seliano
It is easy to imagine that this fresco, made of charming and clashing shapes and colours would be the home of a very special place...Tenuta Seliano... the former home of Baroness Cecilia Baratta and her family. Seliano is only 5 kilometres from the archaeological site of Paestum and the sea and has been converted into one of the best agritourismos in the country. We travelled along increasingly narrow roads that snaked through olive groves and over streams in the flatlands of the Sele and Alento rivers, which are a natural habitat for water buffalo that thrive in this temperate climate. The buffalo are thought to originally be imports from India, and have been rambling around the temples and surrounding plains for at least 1,100 years wallowing in the lowland waters. We passed the mozzarella factories, or caseificio, driving along curving roads and arrived at our destination.

Collecting Eggs at Masseria Eliseo
We passed through the iron gates at Cecilia's husbands family estate and were greeted by the excited barks of the many friendly farms dogs. I was taken to my room in the main courtyard and allowed to acquaint myself with my charmingly rustic surroundings. It was then that I realized just how heavy my suitcase was as it was dragged upstairs. Note to self, I really must pack lighter even if travelling for a month. The window had been opened wide and I breathed in deeply taking in both the atmosphere and the fresh country air. The picturesque buildings have been turned into lodgings with large, comfortable guest rooms with country-style elegance and refined taste. Dating back to the 1800’s, Tenuta Seliano’s main house and farm buildings have great character, and a rustic elegance evoking gracious country living, from a different era.  A well-groomed garden and some 91 hectares (225 acres) of land complete the property, part of which is dedicated to raising buffalo (for mozzarella, of course). It is the sort of place you'd never want to leave. The pool, sunbathing terraces and the large covered verandah, close by, are well furnished and perfect for relaxing and enjoying the tranquilizing calmness. I could linger all day by the pool in season with just the sound of birdsong in the air.

Seliano's setting is idyllic. It's an agriturismo of the purest kind where everything served at the table is produced on the farm, including the wine, olive oil and cheese. In fact from my room and the flower-filled balcony I could look out on to the very trees that the olives are harvested from. The views to the haze-shrouded coast were bewitching any time of day in this hypnotically peaceful spot. A few days of this and I was blissfully rested and refreshed. Agriturismo is an Italian term for what we might call a farm holiday or a form of agricultural tourism. In 1985, the Italian government passed a law encouraging farmers and landowners to convert  their farmhouses or abandoned farm buildings into holiday accommodation. They are exactly what they claim to be, a working farm, surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. Tenuta Seliano offered just what I longed for on an Italian vacation. An authentic Italian rural experience, the chance to live with an Italian family, and the opportunity to slow down from the normal tourist pace. The most difficult task each day was to decide how to spend my time, although Cecilia was the best guide in every respect.

The food at Tenuta Seliano is based on fresh farm produce. We gathered eggs further down the road on their farm property Masseria Eliseo where there is a large kitchen for group cooking classes next to the buffalo pastures and barns. With their own herd of over 800 buffalo there is also plenty of tasty fresh mozzarella and occasionally buffalo meat on the estate. The glory of these historic buildings was counterpointed by the open countryside creeping right up to the sturdy ancient walls with fields of broccolo romano, peppers, eggplants and, best of all, in late winter and early spring, the famous artichokes of Paestum. This small, round-headed artichoke is sweet, pinkish, succulent and sufficiently unique to be awarded standing in the DOP.

Pretty soon it's time for an aperitif on the terrace in the dying sun, watching the lizards scuttle in and out of the masonry. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else in the world. And then dinner. I enjoyed a set menu every evening, devised and prepared single-handedly by a team of cheerful cooks and served at a communal table. I was in and out of the kitchen taking a cooking class as well as observing these talented ladies make homemade pastas and many other dishes. The food was authentic, gutsy, faultlessly executed, and richly satisfying...and of course, as with everywhere in Italy, what was on the table is only what is in season. I would go so far as to say it was some of the best food I had the opportunity to try in the country. Each night I sat at a long table with an eclectic group of people. These were particularly convivial and memorable evenings, a chance to meet people from all walks of life and every corner of the world. Artists, doctors, hitchhikers, Cecilia's sons Ettore and Massimino and family friends all sipping local wine and breaking bread together; each seeking a truly authentic Italian experience. The atmosphere is friendly and informal, feeling more like a relaxed stay with friends. It’s everything a holiday should be!

Pasta a limone

When I travel I have always taken hundreds, if not thousands, of photos. Long before blogging I was taking photos of the food at my table while on even the smallest of adventures. There’s something so evocative to me about pictures of food and the power they have to vividly remind me of mouth-watering meals and moments that I’ve had on my travels. I can look at my culinary photos and remember exactly where I was, the scent of the dish placed in front of me, and the way the flavours opened up on my palate. In many cases the taste or smell of something in my past is capable of painting a picture with richer, deeper brush strokes than any snapshot in my photo album.

Olives gathered from over 1,500 trees on the estate
Situated in southern Campania about 90 minutes south of Naples the ancient Greek city of Poseidonia was founded in 600 BCE in honour of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon. Later named Paestum by the Romans, this ancient city-state has three of the best-preserved Doric-style temples in the world. I loved to walk along the unbroken cycle of walls and temples and smell the mint and wild arugula being crushed under my feet. For three centuries Pasteum was a mandatory stop for travellers on the Grand Tour. After driving across the Piana del Sele, the vast plain south of Salerno where the buffalo that produce the region's delicious mozzarella graze, the sudden appearance of the soaring honey-coloured monuments came as something of a surprise. The subject of many raids by Saracens, this 7th century metropolis eventually fell not to soldiers but to mosquitoes as malaria forced its residents out. Paestum remained deserted and hidden in thick undergrowth until the 18th century when the weeds were hacked away and it was established as a historical site.

Following the collapse of the Roman Empire by 1300 the free-ranging buffalo, which were originally beasts of burden, were providing a significant economic resource as their  milk was collected by local ranchers who rounded them up. These are not the big, brown, wild, hairy bison of the North American prairies; they’re the smooth, dark, curly-horned beasts you might expect to see in a documentary about rice farming in China. These intimidating beasts offer a living history lesson on the local area; they dominated this landscape when it was too waterlogged for humans to negotiate. When German author Wolfgang Goethe travelled through Cilento in 1787 he talked of 'flooded places where we looked into the blood-red savage eyes of buffalo'. I don't know if I could call the eyes wild since they seemed very content and docile, but, instead of roaming swamps, they now bolster the economy.

Cheese makers transformed their milk into a variety of cheeses, notably mozzarella di bufala. By the early 17th century, random cheese making had taken a commercial turn, with one local farm keeping 3,000 buffalo for mozzarella and cheese production. The number of buffalo now in Paestum and its environs is seven times that, and among them are the over 800 fortunate buffalo that form the herd at Seliano.

When I was planning my trip to Italy one of the 50 things I wanted to do in Italy was to stare into the eyes of a water buffalo. In the pastures and water baths of Seliano I had the opportunity. A hot snort of acknowledgment preceded an eyeballing that suggested these buffalo had seen my type before. The herd was clearly interested in us, sniffing our fingers while snorting their steamy breath. With a swift lash of a tar-black tail and a dip of horns, my new acquaintances turned on their hooves and went back to munching on hay. Who could resist that face!

The word mozzarella, when spoken in the Cilento, refers to buffalo mozzarella only. Mozzarella made from cow’s milk is “fior di latte.” In the Amalfi area, the term “mozzarella” means the cow milk cheese, produced in Agerola. The product from Cilento, or from Caserta, is referred to there as “mozzarella di bufala.” You will always be politely corrected wherever you are. Buffalo mozzarella from Italy is perhaps the most difficult cheese to replicate and highly prized by Italians. Fresh mozzarella di bufala is one of the miracles of Italian cuisine.

Buffalo milk has roughly three times the fat of cows milk, which makes it decadently creamy and flavourful.  It contains much less water and more protein and fat. This all makes for an exceptional cheese. The higher percentage of solids in the milk means you can get more cheese from a gallon of milk. The bummer is that water buffalo produce less milk than cows. A dairy cow will produce between 50 and 70 pounds of milk a day, while a water buffalo will produce 10-12 pounds a day. It is easy to see why it is so revered. From the leftover whey they make their highly prized butter and ricotta cheese.

The word mozzarella comes from “mozza”, which means cut or chopped off.  It has a round shape, a porcelain white colour and a slightly elastic consistency in the first 8 to 10 hours. Mozzarella is only the cheese weighing 200 to 600 grams, anything weighing less is a “bocconcino” (little bite).  With fresh mozzarella you get a little pool of buffalo milk coating the plate after you’ve sliced open the ball. It’s fantastic! Mouth-filling and saltier than the traditional, you taste sweet notes and a gentle tang, along with full, grassy flavours and a long, salted-butter linger. The texture is pleasantly delicate and yielding, but needs to be supple enough that it can be sliced. Here you need to consume mozzarella within two days if you want it at its best.  Mozzarella di bufala seems like the reason the word “mouthfeel” was invented, with a depth of flavour that makes even the freshest hand-pulled artisanal cow-milk mozzarella taste like glorified string cheese.
"The first thing that hits you about this porcelain white cheese is the aroma: When you crack the container, savoury, milky notes fill the room. The flavour of this Italian classic cheese is big, Think zinfandel compared to a pinot noir. The mozzarella has a slight tang and a subtle taste of sweet hay and herbs. The forage in the buffalo pens smells of hay and herbs but most prominently of cinnamon. This is in fact due to the sweet spiciness of the corn, which is combined with alfalfa, grasses, herbs and, on occasion, finely ground tomato skins. "
Italy is a quintessentially Old World country, a quilt of microregions, each fiercely loyal to its own traditions and cuisines which means that it’s perfectly natural to expect your cheese to have been made locally that day. This expectation has been woven so deeply into the fabric of daily life, by so many generations of cheese aficionados, that the market for it is guaranteed. And Italy is small enough that, if you do move a fresh product from one major city to the next, it takes only a couple of hours.

Given its importance as a typical food product, the Campanian Mozzarella di Bufala exists under very strict rules of production, the regulation of which has pertained to the Consortium of Protection since 1981. The Consortium is the only organization recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as having the official capacity to protect, uphold, appraise and promote Campanian Mozzarella di Bufala D.O.P.

On one day we ventured to the dairy where Seliano takes it milk to be transformed into cheese. The whole procedure of mozzarella production is fascinating. The procedure is multi-staged with each phase accomplished almost entirely by hand. We were fascinated by the moment when the cheese makers, working as a team of two or three, take the hot, stringy cheese by handfuls and cut it away (mozzare) from the larger mass, making smaller balls which they drop into vats of cool liquid. This takes on the appearance of a timeless dance, the cheese makers falling into step with one another as one pulls and the others push against him as if making taffy, and then reforming the cheese to keep it fluid and warm. The procedure concludes with the balls transferred to soak in a salty brine for no longer than fifteen to twenty minutes. The larger mozzarella are said to have the most flavour, but the smaller tidbits are my own personal favourite.

If you’ve ever bought mozzarella di bufala before, you know it’s not packaged like other cheeses. Whether in Italy or at home, it comes in a container (either a plastic tub or bag) filled with milky, room temperature brine which is crucial in keeping the prized mozzarella moist. When at the dairy we departed with these remarkable morsels that were still slightly warm and each just a few hours old. These bocconcini squeak as we bite into them, and the cream of the milk dribbles down our chins. Their texture is firm but silky, and they are rich with a long, sweet finish. Until this time I had only dreamed of having unpasteurized buffalo milk mozzarella, which is a time sensitive cheese that must be consumed within twenty-four hours of its creation. This cheese is widely regarded as the best mozzarella in the world, a true delicacy, and you have to be in southern Italy to have the privilege of having a taste. Many people line up just for this ritual. Generally the fresher the better.

If by any chance you would have any leftovers no matter what you do, never, ever dump all the liquid out.  Every Italian nonna I know will come after you with a heavy wooden spoon. And that’s not a good thing. As previously mentioned mozzarella di bufala is at its best eaten within a few hours and unrefrigerated or at the most not left more than 2 days. As soon as buffalo mozzarella is exposed to the air the taste immediately starts breaking down. Real connoisseurs can even tell the difference between mozzarella that was made last night versus this morning.

Mozzarella di Bufala
When you check into gourmet shops around North America they will tell you when the mozzarela di bufala was flown in, and it sounds romantic and luxurious. The truth be told, even if it is flown in, by the time it gets packed and shipped to the airport, flown, makes it through customs, is distributed by the importer and finally makes it to the shelves for sale, at least 4-7 days have gone by. Even so, this cheese is a delicacy and should not be missed despite it's long journey.

Although mozzarella di bufala is best eaten as fresh as possible if you should have any leftovers, you're limited only by your culinary imagination and can use the cheese in many recipes. At its simplest, all it needs is a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a grinding of aromatic black pepper. In the classic Insalata Caprese, it is paired with ripe tomatoes and sweet basil and dressed with extra-virgin olive oil (traditionally with no balsamic vinegar or lemon). It is also essential to melanzane alla parmigiana (eggplant parmigiana), deep-fried half-moon pastries called panzerotti that also feature salami, and calzone. And, of course, pizza wouldn’t be the same without mozzarella di bufala.

Insalata Caprese
When using fresh Mozzarella di Bufala to top your pizza or fill your calzone, I am told it is best to cut it into cubes and allow it to drain for several hours in a colander so that the crust doesn't become soggy. In Italy, this problem doesn't present itself, since there is a special variety of fresh mozzarella di bufala with a lower moisture content meant especially for topping pizzas.

Don't know what to do with that leftover bread that's starting to get stale? If you have some mozzarella, you've got a meal in the making! In Italy nothing goes to waste! Mozzarella in carrozza literally means "in a carriage," because the bread is the mozzarella delivery vehicle! It's a Neapolitan staple, where it's also called pane cafone (peasant bread). Sometimes, menus attribute the dish to Rome, Abruzzi and even Milan and it does have something of a big-city sophistication. In other places, the dish is called spedieni a la Romana, and features the same fried cheese sandwich engulfed in either tomato sauce, or an oil-and-anchovy mixture.

This gooey, creamy sandwich is sort of like grilled cheese for grown ups! It makes a satisfying snack or a quick lunch.You could say Mozzarella in Carrozza is the Italian version of that quintessential grilled cheese with an unmistakable Italian twist. As a snack, as a sandwich, as an antipasto or as a first course, this fried combination of bread and mozzarella is easy to make at home. So simple you really don't need a recipe, just the best ingredients you have on hand.

Most often it is fashioned from a couple of slices of bread with mozzarella in the middle, dipped and fried in oil. It’s the Italian answer to the grilled cheese sandwich. Upon biting into these little bites of heaven, the melted cheese in the center became long and stringy. It is not an experience you will soon forget. They are of course best eaten while still hot!

"When you acknowledge, as you must, that
there is no such thing as perfect food,
only the idea of it, then the real purpose of
striving towards perfection becomes clear.

To make people happy! 
That is what cooking is all about."

- Thomas Keller

But here is where the fun begins!! When I was cooking with Cecilia Baratta in her cooking class we made mozzarella in carrozza with some of her day old buffalo mozzarella and a single slice of good quality bread. This serves two purposes. When using good quality bread the cheese will  not melt properly and achieve that  ideal gooey texture since the bread is too dense; plus using only one slice of bread reduces the caloric and carb intake. Pure genius in my books.

When talking to my Italian friends and the Italian chef at our local Italian grocers they each suggested a sliced, airy white bread. So, only for this reason and the purpose of this experiment I followed their lead. But for the sake of experimentation I wanted to create several different variations so utilized whole wheat, white "Italian" sandwich bread and ciabatta. When I was 18, and in Rome, I had a similar snack sandwich made with slices of hardboiled egg that my friend Patti and I were drawn to  time and time again that still haunts me. I gave it a try by layering a slice of hard boiled egg within my carrozza, but, the cheese used may have been a variation mozzarella  since the same flavour profile was not there and the golden, battered and deep fried cheese sandwich of my youth is still elusive. Or perhaps my food memory has taken this dish to new unachievable heights. If anyone knows of this dish that was served everywhere around the coliseum, let me know.

Mozzarella in Carrozza at Locanda del Marinaio in Amalfi
The original recipe for carrozza in Naples uses an anchovy fillet placed in the middle. If you like anchovies, like me, enjoy! I also tried fresh basil leaves, proscuitto, proscuitto crodo and tomato pesto. The biggest quandary was to use bread crumbs or not to use breadcrumbs. When I was on the Amalfi Coast I had a bread crumb version with a fresh cherry tomato sauce that was outstanding. In my own kitchen I experimented with and without. I must admit that my own personal preference was without, but, I would never turn down either version. Giada De Laurentis uses smoked mozzarella...actually, that would be AMAZING! As previously mentioned the type of bread can also vary from one person to another. Some use whole wheat, while others swear by white bread only. From white toast bread, to ciabatta, to day-old bread. It’s up to you. Try a different way each time and you decide what you like best. Hopefully you’ll give  my version a try and fully understand my enthusiasm! Bon appetito!

**Mozzarella in Carozza**

4 slices sandwich bread, crusts removed
3 to 4 ounces mozzarella cheese cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup plain dry breadcrumbs (if using)
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons whole milk
Salt, preferably kosher
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Add ins - proscuitto, fresh basil leaves, hot pepper flakes, sliced hard boiled eggs, anchovy, pesto
1 cup Marinara Sauce (recipe below)

Cover 2 slices of the bread with the mozzarella slices, and top with the other 2 slices of bread. Carefully slice the sandwiches in half diagonally.

On a large piece of wax paper, place the flour on one side, and the breadcrumbs on the other.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the egg, Pecorino, milk, and salt and pepper to taste.

Dredge the sandwich triangles in the flour, and shake off any excess. Then dip them into the egg mixture, making sure that the sides are dampened also. Then coat them in the breadcrumbs, coating the sides as well. Let the triangles rest for 5 to 10 minutes, to let the breadcrumbs adhere well.

Heat a medium-size frying pan (large enough to hold all the triangles) over medium-high heat. Add oil to a depth of ¼ to ½ inch. When the oil is hot (test by putting a comer of one of the triangles into the oil—it should sizzle immediately), add the triangles and fry until the bread has browned, 1 to 1½ minutes. Turn to the other side and fry for another 1 to 1½ minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately, with marinara sauce.

**Quick Marinara Sauce**

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Pinch sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Hot pepper flakes

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and sugar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the basil, parsley and hot pepper flakes.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. A beautiful post and fabulous recipes!



  2. Oh what an absolutely wonderful experience. I want to go there!

  3. Thank you so much for letting us share in your journey. This is definitely a place to add to my Bucket List. I will try the sandwiches - even though fresh from the buffalo cheese will have to wait.

  4. What a marvelous post, Val. You are indeed a brilliant writer...I felt I was right there with you. I must confess that peering into the eyes of a water buffalo is NOT on my bucket list, and I find it amusing it was on yours. :)
    Lovely photos and lovely ideas for a delicious cheese. Never occurred to me to try bread crumbs.
    Also, in my "to try" list, I have a recipe for a smoked coconut cheesecake from Saveur mag. Be fun to try that with mozzarella. Doubt Giada did her own smoking.

  5. A un viaje así me apuntaba yo...pero es un placer compartirlo contigo y todos esos manjares que nos pones no hacen mas que tentarme a ponerme a elaboralos!
    Estupenda entrada

    1. "In a trip I was aiming ... but it is a pleasure to share with you and all those delicacies that do nothing but tempt me to get to make them yourself!
      great entry"

      Thank you. I am happy you enjoyed this virtual trip.

  6. How wonderful! There is nothing like fresh mozzarella di buffalo. Great pictures.

  7. This is one of my favorite appetizers to get when I'm feeling a bit indulgent! So good.

  8. Your Italy stories make me want to visit SO badly.

  9. AnonymousMay 15, 2013

    Fabulous photos and a vibrant description...Felt like I was right there. I wish :) I was wondering if you could post the recipe to that Pasta a Limone that was in the picture? My mouth is watering! Thanks so much.Have a wonderful journey through such beauty....VK

  10. What a exciting adventure Val. All of us would have loved to have been along. I am very impressed with your description of the friendliness of the Italians. Makes the French sound very reserved, which they probably truly are. Look at that face on the buffalo. He seems to be saying hello. And all of the fresh food! I'm off now to book a ticket...just dreamin' but it does sound wonderful.

  11. Wish I had share this with you...great post Val!

  12. Wow, I feel like I've been there! But, sadly, when I wipe my chin there's nothing dribbling down ............:) thanks for sharing your amazing adventure!

  13. What a beautiful and informative post! The countryside is just lovely and the food - Wow!

  14. Wow what a great armchair tour and interesting and informative post on mozzarella cheese types! And who can resist a grilled cheese samich!?!

  15. What a wonderful experience you had, Val. I felt I was right there with you as I read about your mozzarella adventures in Italy. I had to chuckle at your encounter with a water buffalo.

  16. What a stunning post Val. I am SO ENVIOUS. Beautiful pictures my dear. I love the courtyard, I love Italy! Hope you have a fab time there. Big HUGS!!

  17. What a great experience!
    It's always a great time when the locals are willing to get involved with you and your experience creating a truly once in a lifetime journey.
    I love buffalo mozzarella - it is one of my go to favourites and I use it with everything from a simple cheese plate to pizza or sandwiches.


  18. AnonymousMay 16, 2013

    Oh my goodness, I really must visit this region! It's gorgeous and the food and experiences sound amazing! Great post Val!

  19. What a stunning post---your photos should be in a travel magazine!

  20. How wonderful you get to travel to all these beautiful places. That's how I love about travelling, experience all the local, the culture and their food. Thanks for sharing these beautiful good and your journey with is.

  21. If envy is truly a deadly sin I'm going to drop dead any second now.

    THANK YOU for showing anchovy-free options. All too often I see this in restaurants and it always has anchovies, and so I pass it up. Eggs, pesto, prosciutto - you're speaking my language!

  22. What a wonderful adventure, so skillfully recounted and beautifully illustrated here. Brava!

  23. holy cats. this post is magical. mozzarella -- that insalata caprese makes me suddenly just crraaaaave fresh tomatoes and basil (soon!!), and the photos of all of the delicacies and scenic views are just lovely. just beautiful. :D

    kate x

  24. I love mozarella Val and the pictures are georgeous!!

  25. I love this so much, Val. :-) Such beauty, such deliciousness. I love all these photos, and the photo of that cheese is just stunning. :-)

  26. What beautiful stories of Italy. Writing about our travel experiences in a blog is a wonderful way to look back on warm holiday memories. And you write them so well. I just love that photo of the gorgeous buffalo looking at you :)

  27. Such an evocative post Val. Your writing and descriptions are brilliant. So glad you are experiencing such a delightful place.

  28. Such a wonderful and informative post. I have been making cheese, including mozzarella, so this is very cool. Great recipes.

  29. I think I'm crying from the sheer beauty. GREG

  30. Mozzarella di bufala is one of the things I eat only when I am in Italy (prosciutto and ricotta being two others). I am so glad you got to taste some really fresh. And mozzarella in carrozza was one of my favorite dishes when I was a kid.

  31. You make me want to go to Italy so much more now. Love all the beautiful pictures. I hope you do more blog post like this one.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it Helene. I enjoy writing these posts about my journey to Italy. I have written about 8 stories so far which have me relive my time there from the comfort of my armchair.


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