I am always fascinated by food trends. As I walk through the aisle of my grocery store, I am bombarded by diﬀerent Mediterranean Diet staples, items that were nowhere to be found ten years ago or even ﬁve. Hummus in every ﬂavor imaginable and made from a variety of legumes today is commonplace, Greek yogurt now more popular than traditional yogurt, and assorted nuts and nut butters ﬁll store shelves. It is interesting to see the progression of certain foods from exotic specialty to familiar staple.
Burrata cheese, mozzarella’s creamy and soft sibling, seems to be following the same trend and is ﬁnally getting the attention it deserves. Once only found in specialty cheese shops, burrata seems to be everywhere now…even at Costco! To make burrata, mozzarella balls are ﬁlled with curd scraps and cream, resulting in a versatile explosion of ﬂavor. The creamy nature allows for savory or sweet creations; from a topping on pizza, pasta, or crostini, to a welcome companion to fruit, honey, and balsamic vinegar.
On a recent Oldways Culinaria to Puglia, the “heel of Italy’s boot,” we were lucky enough to visit a cheese factory in Conversano to see burrata and mozzarella being made by hand.
The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes the importance of eating healthfully with family and friends and appreciating cuisine together. It was a very profound experience to see the care and eﬀort these artisans put into making their cheese by hand, and the joy they experienced seeing the participants learn about and enjoy their creations. What struck me most was their focus and ability to handle the mozzarella in the extremely hot liquid, then mold the cheese into a pouch before adding the ﬁlling. It is a time honored tradition that I could watch over and over.
It was deﬁnitely a treat to see burrata made in Puglia, its region of origin, and I feel a sense of pride in seeing its growing popularity now that I am back home. If you haven’t already tasted it, I would deﬁnitely recommend trying this milky, sweet, creamy delicacy in the near future!