Buffalo mozzarella

Buffalo mozzarella (Italian: mozzarella di bufala; Neapolitan: muzzarella 'e vufera) is a mozzarella made from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo. It is a dairy product traditionally manufactured in Campania, especially in the provinces of Caserta and Salerno.

buffalo mozzarella
Other namesmozzarella di bufala
Country of originItaly
RegionCampania, Lazio, Puglia, and Molise
Source of milkItalian water buffalo
Certificationmozzarella di bufala campana:
Italy: DOC 1993
EU: PDO 1996
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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. Since 1996[1] it is also registered as an EU and UK protected designation of origin (Italian: DOP) product. The protected origin appellation requires that it may only be produced with a traditional recipe in select locations in the regions of Campania, Lazio, Puglia, and Molise.[2][3]

Areas of production

A water buffalo on a farm in Paestum

In Italy, the cheese is produced nationwide using Italian buffalo milk under the government's official name mozzarella di latte di bufala because Italian buffalo are found in all Italian regions. Only the specific type mozzarella di bufala campana PDO is produced in the area reaching from Rome in Lazio to Paestum near Salerno in Campania, and there are also production areas in the province of Foggia, in Puglia, and in Venafro, Molise.[4] Buffalo mozzarella is a €300m ($330m) per 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 in 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, 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

Buffalo mozzarella from Campania bears the trademark "mozzarella di bufala campana". In 1993, it was granted denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) status, and in 1996, the trademark received the registry number 1107/96[19] and in 2008 the European Union granted protected geographical status and the DOP designation.[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] The mozzarella industry in Italy resulted from 34,990 recorded females of the Italian Mediterranean breed, which account for ≈30% of the total dairy buffalo population (this percentage does not exist in any other country) and have a mean production of 2,356 kg milk in 270 days of lactation, with 8% fat and 4.63% protein.[23]

History in Italy

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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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."[27]

References to cheese products made from water buffalo milk appeared for the first time at the beginning of the twelfth century.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29][30][31][32]

2008 dioxin scare

On March 21, 2008, The New York Times published an article which reported the difficulties encountered by the Campania producers of mozzarella in avoiding the contamination of dioxins of dairy products, especially in the Caserta area,[33] and managing the resulting crisis in local sales. The article, later referenced by blogs and other publications,[34] referred to the Naples waste management issue and referred to other pieces published by the International Herald Tribune and various other national and international newspapers.[35]

These articles marked the beginning of an international media attention that raised the threshold of collective attention on the potential harmfulness of buffalo mozzarella from Campania. In particular, they pointed out to varying degrees a relationship between the fires of garbage heaps and the release of dioxins and other cancerous substances, which would end up in the pastures of dairy animals. Alarmed by some positive findings in the dioxin test, the South Korean government was among the first to prohibit the importation of Italian buffalo mozzarella, promising to remove the ban only when the findings confirmed the possible contamination and identification of responsible producers.

A chain reaction followed, in which several countries including Japan, China, Russia and Germany took various measures ranging from the mere raising of the attention threshold to the suspension of imports.[36] The Italian institutions activated almost immediately, even in response to pressing requests from the European Union, a series of checks and suspended, in some cases, the sale of dairy products from the incriminated provinces. Tests had shown levels of dioxins higher than normal in at least 14% of samples taken in the provinces of Naples, Caserta and Avellino. In the provinces of Salerno and Benevento, no control indicated dioxins positivity.

In any case, the contamination has affected, in a limited defined manner, the farms used to produce buffalo mozzarella DOP.[37] On 19 April, China definitively removed the ban on mozzarella, originally activated on 28 March 2008, and tests held in December 2013 in Germany on behalf of four Italian consumer associations have highlighted dioxin and heavy metal levels at least five times lower than the legal limit.[38]

Production stages

To produce 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) 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:[39][40]

  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.[41]

Contents for 100 g (3.5 oz) buffalo milk:[28]

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


Generally, buffalo mozzarella is eaten 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.[42]

See also


  1. "Mozzarella di Bufala .org - il marchio dop". www.mozzarelladibufala.org.
  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. "The Product: Production Zone". Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, Consorzio di Tutela. 2008.
  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. Archived from the original on 2013-02-07. 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. Archived from the original on 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  11. "Welcome to the Australian Buffalo Industry Council". Buffaloaustralia.org. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  12. 李齐. "Thank you, Mr Buffalo". www.chinadaily.com.cn.
  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. Archived from the original on 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
  16. 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. Archived from the original on 2016-07-03. Retrieved 2015-07-08.
  19. "The Consortium: History of The Organization". Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, Consorzio di Tutela. 2008. 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 DOC 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. "The Consortium: History of The Organization". Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, Consorzio di Tutela. 2008. 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. Minervino, Antonio Humberto Hamad; Zava, Marco; Vecchio, Domenico; Borghese, Antonio (2020). "Bubalus bubalis: A Short Story". Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 7: 570413. doi:10.3389/fvets.2020.570413. ISSN 2297-1769. PMC 7736047. PMID 33335917.
  24. "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.
  25. "History". Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, Consorzio di Tutela. 2008. 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. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  26. "History". Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, Consorzio di Tutela. 2008. 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. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  27. "CAMPANA BUFFALO'S MOZZARELLA CHEESE". www.mozzarelladibufala.org.
  28. "Campana Buffalo's Mozzarella Cheese". Archived from the original on 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  29. The Cheese Companion by Judy Ridgway (Running Press, 2004,) 123
  30. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cheeses of the World by Steve Ehlers and Jeanette Hurt (Penguin, 2008), 96
  31. "Mozarella" by Laura Weiss in The Oxford companion to American food and drink edited by Andrew F. Smith (Oxford University Press 2007), 394
  32. Brooklyn: a state of mind by Michael W. Robbins and Wendy Palitz (Workman Publishing 2000), 306
  33. «So it was a blow when health authorities found high levels of dioxins, nasty byproducts of chemical manufacturing, in samples of buffalo milk from farms near Caserta, north of Naples, in recent weeks, and began a sweeping criminal investigation and the quarantine of dozens of herds of buffalo.», in The New York Times, Italy's Mozzarella Makers Fight Dioxin Scare, 21 March 2008
  34. Lyons, Patrick J. (21 March 2008). "Italy's Mozzarella Makers Fight Dioxin Scare". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  35. "Articolo di International Herald Tribune". Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  36. Articoli vari
  37. Vedi il comunicato "Copia archiviata". Ministero della Salute. 28 March 2008. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  38. I test tenuti in Germania assolvono la mozzarella bufala campana dop, Repubblica.it, 13-12-2013
  39. "Mozzarella di Bufala Campana" (in Italian). Formaggio.it. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  40. Anuttama (2007-03-12). How to turn milk into mozzarella cheese. YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
  41. Caramanica, Susie (May 2005). "Buffalo Mozzarella: An Italian Original". TED Case Studies. Trade Environment Database. 776. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  42. "Campana Buffalo's Mozzarella Cheese: How To Enjoy". MozzarelladiBufal.org. Archived from the original on 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2008-10-22.

Further reading

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