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Cow vs Water Buffalo Mozzarella

Mozzarella

Many people don't know that Mozzarella cheese is traditionally made from water buffalo milk. Mozzarella from water buffallo, or Mozzarella di Bufala is considered to be higher quality and better tasting than Mozzarella made frow cow milk.

I wanted to know if it was really better, or if cheese snobs just say it's better. I had to wait a few months, though. Nugget Market here in Sacramento carries it, but they only sell it in the summer.

Then Saturday came. My cell phone rang. I'd completely forgotten that when I asked about Mozzarella di Bufala three months ago they asked for my phone number to let me know when it came in. I was excited, but had to wait until Monday until I had a chance to go to the store and buy some. I bought some Mozzarella di Bufala, imported from Italy, and some cow milk Mozzarella, made in Wisconsin, packed in water.

Less than a couple hours later, it was all gone.

So, what's the difference between the two?

Photo of two types of Mozzarella

In the photo I have Mozzarella from cow milk on the left, and Mozzarella di Bufala on the right. Before I did the review I was worried I'd have problems telling them apart, but there are differences. Physically speaking, the cheese made from water buffalo milk was a brighter white, softer, less firm, and more moist. It was easier to tear apart the Mozzarella di Bufala than the cow milk variety. Squeezed lightly between the fingertips, Mozzarella di Bufala felt a little spongy compared to the other kind.

In terms of taste, the Mozzarella di Bufala had a stronger (but not too strong), tangier, almost (but not quite) sour taste to it. It was tangy, yet smooth, if that makes any sense. Cow milk Mozzarella by comparison was much sweeter and milder.

I had all three of my kids and my wife taste the cheese, without telling them which one was which. I like asking my kids because kids don't know which one is supposed to taste better. All four of them liked the cow milk Mozzarella best, when served by itself. My oldest son suggested maybe because it's the one we are used to.

Photo of Mozzarella tomatoes and basil

We tried the Mozzarellas served three other ways. We had Mozzarella served with roma tomatoes and fresh basil with and without olive oil, and Mozzarella served with extra virgin olive oil and cracked peppercorn. I had never had Mozzarella with olive oil and pepper before, but someone had suggested it to me so I decided to try it.

Can't say I'm a big fan of Mozzarella with pepper. It's okay, but no wow factor. The cow milk again did better served that way than the buffalo milk.

But I am a big fan of Mozzarella served with tomatoes and basil. And I would have to say that the buffalo milk mozzarella did much better than the cow milk mozzarella. The Mozzarella di Bufala seemed to enhance the flavor of tomato and basil. Cow milk Mozzarella still goes well with tomatoes and basil, but compared to water buffalo milk Mozzarella, the cow milk seemed to try to compete with tomatoes and basil.

That surprised me a little. I have tomatoes, basil, and cow milk Mozzarella several times a year, and I would never had said that the cheese tries to compete with the basil and tomato if I hadn't tried it side-by-side with buffalo Mozzarella.

Overall, I love both cheeses, and would recommend either one, especially over the low-moisture Mozzarella that you find in almost every grocery store. We liked the cow milk better by itself, but I wonder if I would have had a different opinion had the Mozzarella di Bufala been as fresh as the stuff you buy in Italy. (It's pretty close to impossible to get hours-old cheese from Italy here in California.)

The Mozzarella di Bufala is more expensive, but worth buying even if it's just so you can brag to all your friends that you have a ball of buffalo milk Mozzarella in your fridge.

Comments

RANA KHEIREDDINE 2011-08-10 06:13:39

Hi,

I’m the purchasing coordinator of Lebanese Beirut Airport Catering Company (L.B.A.C.C.) located in the Airport of Lebanon Country Middle East.

And I’m looking for mozzarella fresh good quality do you have any distributors for your brand (BUFFALO)in my country (Lebanon)?

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itscheese.com 2011-08-10 10:31:35

Hello, Rana.

At itscheese.com we don\'t sell cheese; we write about cheese. You may want to write to info@mozzarelladibufala.org, the organization that promotes Mozzarella di Bufala in Italy. They may be able to help you with a supplier in Lebanon.

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MILA GIGANTI 2012-04-27 01:14:35

THANKS FOR THE GOOD EXPLANATION

I TEACH ITALIAN (AS WELL AS OTHER LANGUAGES) AND I AM BASED IN MELBOURNE WHERE THERE IS AN ITALIAN QUARTIERE AND YES, WE ARE VERY FORTUNATE TO FIND MOST PRODUCTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. WILL EXPLAIN ALL TO MY STUDENTS AS I LOVE THEM TO KNOW ABOUT ITALIAN CULTURE..WHICH INCLUDES CUISINE, THE ARTS AND MORE. SURELY WE\'LL BE ABLE TO GET BUFFALLO MOZZARELLA...SOUNDS GREAT . GRAZIE TANTE. ARRIVEDERCI.

MILA GIGANTI, Carrum Beach , Melbourne
Australia

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Antonio 2012-09-26 00:16:04

Yes you can......
Have fresh, local and handmade WB mozzarella, by Italian, from our own herd.
Feel free to call 813-473-2105.

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ralph 2012-10-29 08:48:43

Hi, late response but thanks for the comparison. I tried this myself recently and wanted to suggest another test. Put a thin slice of bufala mozzarella on a thin piece of bread and melt it under the broiler. You can top with extra virgin olive oil. It really opens up the creamy flavors and aromas of the cheese that aren't there when eaten in non-melted state. Also, the thin slices were better than thick....

ralph

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Alice 2013-05-23 21:40:21

I'm not surprised the kids liked it better, because it's what they're used to, as your older child said. My husband and I went to Italy in 2010 and had Mozzarella di Bufala for the first time. I can't forget how much I loved it. Last year we went to a restaurant and I ordered a sandwich. The minute I bit into it I could tell the cheese was Mozzarella di Bufala. It's very hard to find where I live. In fact, I have never found a store that sells it here. Melted in a panini, with fresh tomatoes and basil or arugula, it can't be beat!

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Steve Rice 2013-07-13 11:41:17

In the Hudson Valley, and downstate, you can get Mozzarella di Bufala at DeCicco's Family Markets...the one in Carmel is superior to any Wegman's, Fresh Market or other top-end store...plus the prices are VERY competetive with Shoprite and Price Chopper. They have 11 locations, having just opened up in Cornwall. www.deciccos.com

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Brian Minton 2013-09-11 17:25:24

What about on pizza?

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Charlie Burn 2013-09-19 09:38:51

I just wanted to add that for people who are lactose intolerant, buffalo mozarella can be easier to tolerate. And yes, it's excellent on pizza. Try making a pizza yourself with buffalo mozarella. Can't be beat. All the best from England.

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Penney 2013-10-15 19:08:10

I spent the summer in Italy and was fortune enough to stumble upon the Tenuta Vannula Diary farm in Capaccio. It was such an education into buffalo farming. I wished my Italian was better as I had so many questions. They sell out of all their fresh mozzarella and ricotta every day by noon. People drive from as far as Naples to purchase. I have included a link to an article that appeared in South China News recently talking about the farm. Should you ever find yourself on the Amalfi Coast, head south and find this place, you won\'t be disappointed! http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/food-wine/article/1322731/vip-buffalo-treatment-jazz-and-massages-produce-premium

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Jackli, rexh 2014-05-15 09:31:02

I am looking for water buffalo fat to bay, obout 2-3 lb. \ncan you please tell me wher can i get it.\nThan you.\nJackli

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arn d. granada 2014-05-24 07:02:06

to europeans who wish to visit Philippines (Boracay, Malay, Aklan). wish to inform you that by 2015,we will be supplying Italian Buffalo Milk products..\n\nyou may contact the Municipal Agriculturist of Malay, Aklan, Philippines and Mr. Arn D. Granada cel # 09999916115

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jazzmina 2014-10-30 21:43:47

Does anyone know where you can get Buffalo mozzarella in Adelaide, South Australia?
Thanks
Jazzmina

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