Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Casatica di Bufala

Casatica is a rich water-buffalo cheese. Most of Italy's water buffalo reside in southern Italy, in the vicinity of Naples, and most of their milk is transformed into the prized mozzarella di bufala. But when the two brothers, Alfio and Bruno Gritti, took over their father's farm located in northern Italy, in the foothills of the Alps, they were milking dairy cows.

Ten years ago, they decided to introduce water buffalo. Buffalo milk has twice the cream as cow's milk. A couple of years later they sold all the cows to focus on the richer milk. Increasing the water buffalo herd to 1,000, they built a creamery to make both cheese and yogurt. Today they make 25 cheeses, including Bufalo di Mozzarella, all steeped in local Italian tradition.

Casatica, a soft-ripened cheese, aged for three to five weeks, it has a supple richness. With a creamy interior and a mild and delicate milky sweetness, left to sit, it will virtually ooze on your plate and melt into your mouth. The cheese looks like a flattened log, soft and supple as a down pillow. It is a beauty, with a thin edible rind dusted with powdery white mold and a pale ivory interior riddled with small eyes.

Casatica's aroma is subdued and its flavors delicate, the main feature being a milky sweetness. It's that silky, yielding mouthfeel that makes a slice so compelling. Water buffalo milk has twice the fat of cow's milk, even more than sheep's milk, so it's not surprising that it yields cheeses of such pleasurable texture. This soft-ripened stracchino-style is a custardy little beauty, barely restrained by its bloomy rind, rich and creamy, which means you want something bubbly & acidic like Prosecco to pair with it.

No comments:

Post a Comment