In Rome last September, Michele wanted to go to restaurant Obika. This small restaurant in the Centro Storico specializes in mozzarella di bufala from different parts of Campania. We ordered a sampling from Salerno and Paestum. Two of the mozzarellas were fresh, and one was smoked. We also tried a ricotta and a burrata. The mozzarella from Salerno was creamy with a touch of sweetness while the one from Paestum was less creamy and more full flavored. The smoked mozzarella from Salerno had a nice smokey flavor and was creamy inside. Bufala milk is very rich in fat and protein, so it makes excellent mozzarella. The cheeses were so good; we decided to go to Campania to try them at the source.
Mozzarella di bufala is porcelain-white in color, spherical in shape with a very thin glossy rind. It has a springy texture and a pleasantly tangy flavor taste with a faint mossy smell. When you buy it in a store, each ball comes vacuum-packed in its own brine-filled pouch. It should taste sweet and milky and not have a sour taste that you get when it starts to age.
Vannulo has a store where you can buy leather products made from the bufala hide and a café where you can enjoy products made with bufala milk. We had gelato (I had stracciatella, vanilla chocolate chip on a brioche--it was fantastic. Michele had chocolate and loved it), yogurt, ricotta, and butter and of course the mozzarella.
Our favorite wine to drink with mozzarella di bufala is Falenghina from Feudi di San Gregorio, a white wine made from the Falenghina grape. This grape was brought to Southern Italy by the Greeks and is mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History (d.79AD). It is very popular in Rome at this time. The wine has good acidity with a touch of grass and herbs and undertones of citrus. It combines with the Mozzarella perfectly. I also like Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Bianco made from the Coda di Volpe (tail of the fox) grape.