This Could Get Expensive

On Wednesday I tasted buffalo mozzarella for the first time. 

I’ve eaten a lot of fresh mozzarella since I discovered it five years ago.  Purchased, homemade, big, small and tiny, hot and cold, on soup and on pizza, every which way.  However, all of this mozzarella was made of cows’ milk.  It’s not that I object to non-bovine dairy products, but on the whole, buffalo mozzarella is more expensive than cows’ milk mozzarella, and I am not so flush that I can ignore the distinction.

On Wednesday, though, I wanted insalata caprese for lunch, and since I would be the only one eating it and I didn’t forsee any other occasions for mozzarella consumption on the horizon, I was reluctant to buy the 12-16 oz of mozzarella that most places sell in one container.  Instead, I blinded myself to price and bought the small container of one ball of buffalo mozzarella. 

At home, I chunked the tomatoes and tossed them in a bowl with Maldon salt and some of the enormous basil that my garden has lately been producing.  I sliced/chopped up the mozzarella, too, idly putting a naked piece of it into my mouth as I slid the rest into the salad bowl. 

Good lord! 

I actually dropped the knife.  I have never tasted anything like that before.  It was . . . it was . . . .  I almost called Teacherman on the phone at work to tell him that I just didn’t think I could handle it.  It was that good. 

And even though I have never had it before, what struck me about the taste was how familiar it was.  Not the familiarity of a long-cherished food, but the familiarity of the brain, where one KNOWS how things OUGHT to taste. 

It was creamy, with the shaggy texture of most mozzarella, but it can’t be compared at all.  I tasted the freshness and character of the cream, but the taste it most reminded me of was, of all things, buttered toast.  And no, it’s not that it tasted of butter, it tasted like nothing I can articulately describe–buttered toast is just the only thing that my overwhelmed brain can come up with.  It tastes like the idea of buttered toast remembered after a long abstention.   It had the deep flavor of something caramelized but the light freshness of of something raw.

Goodness.  Imagine how good it would have been if it had been really fresh; I hear buffalo mozzarella is best the day it’s made.

Published in: on August 31, 2007 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

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