Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Caseificio Barlotti - Capaccio (Sa)

Well, if you've seen one mozzarella dairy you've seen them all. 
Or so I thought.  Until I bumped into   Raffaele Barlotti at his dairy's bar one Monday evening.  Over a caffe' he invited me to come back the next day for a look around.
I arrived at about 10:00 am the next morning.  After just  five minutes, my tour guide Sandro at Caseificio Barlotti,  I forgot about the dozen or so times I have seen mozzarella at work as a chaperone on the obligatory school field trips.  This time seemed like the first time.  Sandro decided that we should begin in the  production area which was in full swing.  But first, he sais, I needed a little protection,. A pair of blue plastic baggies that I just slipped over my shoes and I was ready to go.
Ready to observe all the action of mozzarella making Paestum style .  So much activity going on all around.  I listened attentively as Sandro explained the cheese making process...First of all...100 % buffalo milk...from buffaloes milked two times a day on Barlotti's dairy.  Then a series of steps such as acidification and coagulation.  I watched as the curd was broken up...the serum separated from the curd...

Every now and then, Sandro told me to step back.  This was the phase in which boiling water was added to the curd.  

Then, the cheese maker with his wooden magic wand stirred and stirred until he magically transformed the broken up curd into something smooth and beautiful.

At this point, the mozzarella was almost complete.  The mozzarella balls that we all know and love could be formed by hand or by machine.  Either way, their last stop was into a tank of water to cool down. Then transferred into saline tanks so that the cheese can absorb some of the salt...some of the flavor.

Fresh mozzarella that if conserved properly (4 to 10 degrees Celsius in the lovely liquid that it was sold with) for 8 days.
As much fun as I was having in the production area, Sandro suggested we go and see the buffaloes.  And why not?  First a quick walk through the milking room to see where the buffaloes are milked, two times a day...at 3 am and 3 pm.  All by machine with just one worker to man the equipment.

Then I was ready to see the buffaloes.
And there were plenty of them.  First, the older females...some relaxing in the sun.  Others eating an early lunch of straw, hay and corn.  It was entertaining to watch a few who would toss up the mixture in the air with their snouts to search for the sweet dried corn.

Before I could ask where the little ones were, Sandro explained that they were in quarantine...After a week or so with their mothers, the law requires that they are separated from the older ones.   We stopped by for a visit.
After several months in quarantine, they (females) would then be free to eat drink and be merry until the ripe old age of three. When the child bearing milk producing years would begin.  Where their milk would be used to make mozzarella or other products such as ricotta, butter, caciocavallo, provola  etc. Available for sale online, in their shop, or even in their small restaurant which is open for lunch.

Over a glass of buffalo milk, I learned about how precious those buffalo were.  Not only for their milk...but for their meat as well.

Lean.  High in protein.  Low in calories.  And maybe on my next visit I'll try some.  In Barlotti's small restaurant.  A small table in the garden.  A few slices of salami produced with buffalo meat. A side of ricotta.  A few boccocini di mozzarella...and a glass of wine.
Yes, that's what I'll do.

Caseificio Barlotti
Via Torre di Paestum 1, 
Capaccio Paestum Salerno
Tel. +39 0828811146
Fax +39 0828721047

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