I have never seen buffalo before, and what a sight they were. From the nursery, first-year old’s up to the fully-grown beasts all very carefully looked after. These beasts are incredibly gentle creatures; they have their own beds, they eat 50 kg of food per day and showered twice daily. What a life. Every buffalo has a name and the herdsmen know everyone, it’s incredible.
In return, they produce calves every June or thereabouts and will live the life of Riley for the next 11-12 years. They only produce 8 litres of organic milk per day over 2 milking sessions, but with 300 milking buffalo, that’s a lot of milk, making about 300 kg of cheese per day. Generally, all the finished cheese is sold per day, and with a staggering 2,000 people turning up to buy the cheese, butter and yoghurt, it does not last long. People even drive from Naples (about 1 hour) to get their cheese. The process is straightforward, said Francesco Marino, Director Tenuta Vannulo; the milk is set with rennet and left to thicken. Once thickened, the blocks of curds are milled. Then they are placed into a large open steel vat to which boiling water is added. The curds are stirred and turned very quickly by hand using a bowl and a stick until the whole mass turns into a huge elastic cushion. At this point, large lumps are ripped off and, in turn, ripped into smaller pieces to form the finished cheese; that’s it. From start to finished for about 20 minutes! The whole process can be seen and is very interesting. The finished cheeses are salted in a 3% brine and sold in large water-filled bags. The other thing to tell you is they do not need to be kept in a fridge and will keep for 3-4 days in a cool area. The café area sells wonderful Buffalo milk yoghurt, cakes topped with yoghurt and marmalade, cappuccino & ice cream, all delicious. Unfortunately, you can not get this Mozzarella commercially anywhere (and it is the only organic buffalo Mozzarella producer in Italy) as the owner will not sell to anybody but the public, so I suggest you get onto a plane and drive from Naples, it’s a trip really worth making.
Tel 0039 335 7183705