Cheese is an integral part of many Italian diets, and types of cheese consumed vary depending on the region. Probably one of the most enticing is Burrata.
Burrata is a cheese that is native to the region of Puglia, which is known for sheep farming and agriculture. Burrata has been popular amongst locals for over a century.
Still, it was not until recently that it gained popularity in other Italian regions and abroad due to the exporting of the cheese and restaurants using it as premium ingredient.
History of Burrata
According to the Offical Journal of the European Union, "Burrata dates back to the early 20th century on the Bianchino family estate in the Murgia town of Andria. When Lorenzo Bianchino could not deliver milk into town due to heavy snowfall, he was forced to find a new use of the cream that formed on the top of the milk."
Mr. Bianchino's method was to create a sort of thin "pouch" out of stretched cheese as a shell to hold and preserve the cream, and some shredded pieces called stracciatella leftover from mozzarella making.
Burrata traditionally was wrapped with tiny grass stems or larger asphodel leaves as a sign of freshness: if the leaves were still green, then people knew the cheese was fresh.
One of the first references of this product was in the early 1930s, in the Guida del Touring Club. The Guide led burrata to become popular not only in Italy but also abroad. To the extent that the Shah of Iran became an expert of Burrata and flew into Apulia to purchase the product fresh.
Although Burrata was a delicacy of the Shah of Iran, it was not until the 1950s that its popularity grew beyond the region. In this period, local cheese factories began to produce it intensively.
It is believed that their interest rose because Burrata represented a way to utilize the scraps of mozzarella that would have been otherwise discarded.
In recent years burrata has become internationally known due to the advancement of exporting Italian foods and restaurants around the world appreciating this exceptional cheese.
How Burrata is made
Burrata is known for its shape by being often mistaken for mozzarella cheese.
According to Eatly, "The most appealing part of the cheese is cutting the small bulging "head" where the pouch has been sealed, which lets the irresistible filling ooze out with all its delicious fresh milk aromas and buttery flavor."
Burrata is served throughout Italy in dishes such as pizza with burrata and Prosciutto di Parma and is considered a delicious "north meets south" combination.
This exeptional chees is now one of the bestselling toppings all over Italy and probably the most iconic symbol of the latest pizza trend, according to Eatly.
Burrata has become a premium ingredient to upgrade the simplest of dishes, but to Bari native, Elisabetta De Balsi, Burrata is daily food." It's something we eat in the simplest possible way: a starter along with some tomatoes or salami or maybe on basic pizza dough."
Despite Burrata having a short shelf life, it is sold around the world. An example of its international popularity is how Il Fornaio, a chain restaurant that primarily operates out of California, uses burrata as part of special promotions. International chefs also used the cheese as an ingredient to add extra richness to their risotto or pasta dishes.
Authentic Burrata can be in bought throughout Andria in stores such as Caseificio Famiglia Olanda Riccardo and Caseificio Montrone Andria.