Casatica di Bufala is a bloomy-rind cheese from the northern part of Italy near Bergamo. It is made by two brothers, Bruno and Alfio Gritti, from the pasteurized milk of water buffalos! That’s right – water buffalos. Did you know that there are cheeses made from water buffalo milk? Well – if you’ve never tried one, you should pick this baby up and give it a taste. I bought this at my local Whole Foods and it was about seven dollars for a third of a pound.
Anyway – the first thing you probably notice while looking at this cheese is the oozy texture. Take a look from this angle!
This cheese is wonderfully gooey and delicious. When you’re tasting or serving a cheese, it is best to let it warm to room temperature first. If you taste it right out of the refrigerator, you will not get the full flavor or the right consistency from the cheese. Instead, it will be much firmer and the flavors will be much less pronounced. When I let this cheese sit out for about forty minutes, this is what happened… it oozed. Yum. I tend to love oozy, creamy cheeses and this one is NO exception.
Cheeses made from buffalo milk tend to be super rich and luscious. Why? Well – buffalo milk has the highest fat content out of all the milks (cow, sheep, goat). To give you an example, the percentage of solids (fats) in cow’s milk is 12% per pound of milk. The remaining 88% is liquid called whey. In buffalo milk, the percentage of solids (fats) is 25% per pound! That’s twice the fat solids in the same amount of milk. Of course, that’s one of the reasons it’s so delicious!! I learned all this science-y stuff in my Murray’s boot camp. Yes, I’m a cheese nerd. Now… onto the tasting.
First – we sniff. Upon first sniff of the paste (interior), I think of the smell of milk when you gently heat it in a sauce pan. You know… that sweet milky smell? When I sniff the rind (outside coating) – it smells a bit mushroomy – like truffles.
Now – we taste. Mmmmmmmmm. The texture of this cheeses is to die for! It is so super luscious – silky smooth and creamy. It completely coats the inside of my mouth and I just close my eyes and sigh – an overdose of yum. The taste is salty but a little sweet. It’s rich and buttery and fatty-tasting. I even get a slight taste of fresh-baked bread – a sort of yeasty flavor. When I taste the rind along with the paste I think it adds flavors of mushroom and garlic.
With a cheese this rich, I think it calls for some accompaniments. I cut up a fresh baguette and tried the cheese with some delicious honey I bought a few weeks ago at Whole Foods.
The honey is made by a company called Well Dressed Food and has delicious pecans inside. I tend to be a cheese purist and typically don’t need crackers, bread or fruit to enjoy a cheesy treat. But I’ve tried this honey with a couple cheeses now and I think the sweetness and the nuttiness provides a perfect compliment to the saltiness of cheese!
Just a little dab’ll do ya. You don’t want to drown out the flavor of the cheese.
So – there you have it. Casatica di Bufala. This baby gets a total yummy thumbs up in my book. It’s different, it’s pretty, it’s intriguing because it’s made from buffalo milk! I think it’s a crowd pleaser and I’m excited to put it out for friends on a cheese plate sometime soon. I hope you’ll give it a try too and spread the word! That’s all the cheesiness I’ve got for now… see you next week on cheese Thursday with a new cheese du’jour!