The story of Burrata: an orally transmitted myth

The story of this tasty cheese allegedly originated between 1920and 1959 in Southern Italy, but, unlike mozzarella, which was created in Campania, burrata was born in Andria, a town in the Apulia region, due to a need to minimize food waste. It was, in fact, an ingenious and useful way of using up scraps of mozzarella leftovers from the cheese making process.

How burrata was created

As a matter of fact, when cheese mongers made the stretched curd mozzarella they always ended up having some left over.

Moreover, cream was produced from the dense layer formed on top of the morning milking. Stripping those mozzarella rags with fingers and mixing them inside this cream made the perfect filling for the burrata: and that’s how this incredible cheese was created!

The cows that provide the milk which contribute to the birth of burrata graze in the valleys surrounding Castel del Monte castle. Their milk is delicate and has the right consistency to create this extraordinary cheese.

Between legend and myth

According to Riccardo Campanile, a historian from Apulia, burrata was born on a snowy winter’s day in a small town in Southern Italy, in a masseria (farmhouse) close to Castel del Monte:  Masseria Bianchino. Local cheesemaker Lorenzo Bianchino allegedly invented burrata. However, there is no written trace of the claim, as tradition was mostly orally transmitted.

Therefore, a few Andria burrata makers also claimed the invention. There are also some discrepancies about the date of birth: some claim it was created in the first half of the 20th century, while other sources indicate 1950s as the correct date.

As far as the legend goes, cheesemonger Lorenzo Bianchino was seeking a way to preserve fresh milk after a snowstorm prevented him from delivering the milk into town. He couldn’t afford to waste all that goodness, so he managed to find a way to repurpose it: he salvaged the dense layer that naturally formed on top of the morning milking, and, inspired by the conservation process used for butter, he created a shell out of the mozzarella spun dough and put the cream inside the shell in an attempt to preserve its freshness.

He also thought of recycling the leftovers of the pasta spun out of the mozzarella processing, by mixing them with the fresh cream. The invention was successful and that was the birth of the burrata!       


THIS IS A GUEST POST BY Alessandro Annunziata FROM Murgella; specialists of a wide range of italian filata cheeses.
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