The history of mozzarella

Have you ever wondered where the mozzarella was born?   It is commonly considered that the Campania region of Italy was the birthplace of the soft cheeses.  Thanks in part to a large production of buffalo milk and today’s famous production of  Buffalo Mozzarella in the region.

But things are not exactly  that clear cut!

According to Professor Del Prato mozzarella’s origin is certainly in southern Italy.  It is derived " from the need to transform milk quickly into cheese, as the poor storage conditions dictated it. Through the process of heating and hot spinning, the acidity is reduced. The resulting curds were then formed by hand into Mozzarella.  This process was the largest contribution that Italy has given to the dairy industry in recent years.

 The spinning is the process that allows a small quantity of curds, taken to high temperature, to become plastic and ready to be pulled in one continuous filament, usually longer than one meter and then formed into various forms of Mozzarella. "

In fact, the term mozzarella derives from the practice of cropping and so "the manual operation of the hand-spun cheese dough allows the skin to narrow and form the characteristic ovules and thus the soft character of this cheese is created”.

Let us take a Historical journey…

The oldest document in which we find the full term “Mozzarella”, dates back to the sixteenth century.  This  was written up by a chef at the Papal Court. There are earlier documents, dating back to the twelfth century, which shows that the Benedictine monks of San Lorenzo in Capua used to offer, on the occasion of some religious holidays, a piece of this cheese (known as mozza or provatura ) " by tradition " .

This last statement leaves us to speculate that such production, even then, was not considered recent, but already had a history of tradition.

These monks settled in Capua in 811 , after  their protectorate, the Duke of Benevento’s was defeated in war in 810. The surviving Benedictines were forced to flee from San Vincenzo al Volturno and were fortunate to find shelter in the Lombard fortress of Capua.  Here they founded, the monastery of San Lorenzo, and shortly after the city of Aversa was born, now commonly known for the production of ‘Buffalo Mozzarella”.

Therefore, the art of mozzarella preparation seems to have been handed down and spread by the Benedictine monks of the famous Castel San Vincenzo Abbey , in Molise.  The making of Mozzarella is still widespread in this region and is made typically from cow's milk.

In Campania , following the introduction of the Buffalo in the thirteenth century , they started to use this animal’s milk . This practice developed further in the seventeenth Century and has now become the current large-scale production of buffalo mozzarella.

The historical production of Mozzarella using ordinary cow’s milk is a tradition that – by a large number of confirmed documents - should be a heritage of Molise.

It is certainly not the case that the traditional “scamorza molisana” is a firm ancestral property of this region. But an argument can be made.  The word is derived from “sca-mozza-re”. The first part ‘sca’ has the meaning (to be devoid of one part) the other part of the word ‘mozza’ comes from our Historical writings as described by the Benedictine Monks of old.

If it is true that what we have learnt from the science of historical meanings and inflection of words.  It is not difficult to conclude that ‘scamorza’,’mozzarella’ are truly historical words from the Molise Region.

Today, most Molisani continue to distinguish between the stiffer product known as ‘scamorza appasita’ and the more softer and milky moist ‘scamorza fresca’ or in other word the mother of the Mozzarella.

This is simply another confirmation that the evolution of language proves the link between historical ancestry and ‘Old traditions’.

At Caseificio Barone it is the principal of ‘Tradition” that distinguishes our products from the norm!!!!!

 

*Cheese before the production process’ completion

 

References:

O.S. Del Prato, Trattato di tecnologia casearia, Tecniche Nuove

M. Pelagalli, I grandi formaggi della Campania, Calderini

L. Perrella, Storia dell’Industria Casearia del Molise, Unimol

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