Greek temples and buffalo? No one would expect to find them together, but that is exactly what awaits you when you visit Paestum, near Salerno in Southern Italy, home to the world – famous Buffalo Mozzarella. Emilia Delizia organises food and cultural tours around South of Italy. Do you hesitate to contact us should you need more information about the tours.
For many Italians fresh Mozzarella di Bufala is a most evocative food, associated with Summer, Coastal holidays and lovely summery Caprese salad! Often local people stop to buy fresh Mozzarella on their way home from a trip to the coast and many people make the trip from Naples just to get their hands on the really fresh product. Locals believe that by the time the cheese has been delivered to their area is has already lost the characteristics that make it special.
Today, visitors to the Paestum area, near Salerno in Southern Italy, have the opportunity of visiting several water buffalo farms and dairies, most of which are conveniently situated along a stretch of the SS18, locally known as “Mozzarella Road”. Not only can you taste and buy the fresh product at source, but you can also take a tour to see the entire production process from raw milk to delectable cheese; (And you get to see some of the best preserved examples of Greek temples in the world…).
What is PDO Mozzarella di Bufala?
In 2008 the cheese was awarded PDO status, meaning Protected Designation of Origin. To qualify for PDO status a product must have qualities particular to a certain region (in this case the milk can only be sourced from local herds of buffalo) and in addition, the product must be entirely produced, processed and prepared only in that region. Several other Italian cheeses also have PDO status, including Parmesano Reggiano, Gorgonzola and Asiago.
Some of the best dairies near Paestum
You have a wide variety of dairies to visit near Paestum, so to help you choose here are a few of the best ones where you can not only taste and buy the cheese, but also see the production process. (However, you need to be there early – it is all over by 11am!)
Farm Barlow – Barlotti cheese
Azienda Caseiria Salati
Caseificio e Yogurteria Il Granato and
Tenuta Vannulo – possibly the best-known – offering tours in several languages and one of the few organic farms.
What you can expect to see on the Mozzarella Tour
You can expect to first visit some of the buffalo! The animals are very well looked-after; you will see their sleeping quarters complete with mattresses, and perhaps witness them being milked. You then watch the production process: the raw milk is heated and poured into a cream separator. It is then curdled by the adding of natural whey after which the curds are matured in large tubs. This is followed by the adding of hot water to soften the curds, (a process called Spinning). Now the curds are shaped and cooled by immersing in cold water. At most of the dairies the process is highly automated, but there are still a few where the cheese is shaped by hand. Finally the finished products are packed into pickling tubs containing some of the original whey. Then comes the best part – the tasting! Mozzarella di Bufala is best eaten immediately, and you will often see queues of people waiting for the fresh product which is usually sold out by midday.
Most important – if you want an English tour phone ahead and book at whichever dairy you would like to visit. It is also possible to take an organized tour which includes a visit to one of the dairies as well as a visit to the Temples and archaeological musuem at Paestum. Several of the dairies also sell fantastic fresh yoghurts and ice cream and this experience is something you definitely should not miss.