A Brief History of Mozzarella

Mozzarella History

Previously, we’ve covered the cheesy history of cheese. Now we’re getting granular with it all, starting off with that pallid blob—mozzarella.

Iconic, weird looking, and very bloody tasty, this stuff is mysterious and really quite enthralling once you dig into its squishy complexities.

What’s Mozzarella?

It’s a cheese made from Italian buffalo or cow’s milk, with the end result a squishy, stringy, white blob at the end of it all.

The pasta filata method is used to create mozzarella, which is the process of stretching and pulling the cheesy curd. A bit like how noodles are made (see the history of noodles).

Despite the unhealthy reputation of cheese, mozzarella is surprisingly quite low in fat and calories. It’s one of the healthier cheese options out there, as it contains probiotics (bacteria Lactobacillus casei and lactobacillus fermentum) that can help keep a healthy gut going for longer.

As an ingredient, mozzarella famously goes well with pizza. The cheese with red tomatoes are also a legendary pairing, often just served together on a slice of toasted bread or as a caprese salad.

It’s fantastically tasty, especially when you melt the stuff. It goes all gooey and is a brilliant accompaniment on top of a wrap with a bit of veg.

The History of Mozzarella

As you might expect, mozzarella hails from Italy. But its history dates back a very long way—developed in Southern Italy, records show it was around at least as early as 1st century AD (that’s two thousand years ago).

The name came about from the multitude of dialects spoken across Apulia, Calabria, Campania, Abruzzo, Molise, Basilicata, Lazio, and Marche:

  • Mozza means “cut”
  • Mozzare means “to cut off”.

Mozzarella is first mentioned in written records from 1570. Although there’s a 12th century reference from a monastery in Capua, Campania, that throws up the term “mozza”. Which could well be the famous cheese.

However, the 1570 one is pretty solid on as a reference.

That’s in Italian Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi’s (1500-1577) legendary cookbook Opera dell’arte del cucinare. Amazingly, that thing is packed with over 1,000 recipes.

Despite listing mozzarella for the first time, Scappi was a cheese heathen—in the work, he declares Parmesan to be the best dairy on Earth… there are no words.

The book also contains the first recorded picture of a fork.

How Chefs Make Mozzarella

Viewed as the godfather of mozzarella in New York, Orazio Carciotto opened his specialist mini-café in 1993.

It’s on the corner of Arthur Avenue in Bronx’s Little Italy—Casa Della Mozzarella. There he and his son make the cheese 30-40 times every day.

He’s so bloody good at it the place is now quite legendary. As you can see, along with his son, they’ve made the place pretty popular!

It’s one of the things we love about food specialisms, you really can make it your whole career from this one noble pursuit.

Refer back to our history of baguettes and history of mochi for other chefs who’ve mastered their, respective, crafts.

This reminds us of Jiro Dreams of Sushi. That total commitment to the job and become a master at the foodstuff of your choice. And why the ruddy hell not!?

Recipes You Can Make With Mozzarella

Ermagherd…. it’s Jamie Oliver! Only the Hottest Man Alive in the history of ever! As you’d expect, he’s got a sizzling dish ready for you to enjoy. Phwoar.

But there are plenty of things you can make with mozzarella thrown into the mix. Including:

  • Mozzarella sticks with sauce
  • Pizza
  • Baked meatballs
  • Garlic bread
  • Salad
  • Lasagne
  • Baked veg
  • Sandwiches
  • Courgette, mushroom, and mozzarella tart

Plenty, in other words. And we’re mightily impressed by the stuff. It’s very tasty, fantastic when melted down, and not too bad for you as well.

The perfect cheese? Oh my, it could well be. Fight us about it!


Dispense with some gibberish!

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