Campania meets Queensland with delicious results.
Who Alessandro Motta began making mozzarella when he was just 13, attempting to recreate a taste of home. Trips back to Italy included classes with nuns at a monastery at Vallechiara, near Rome, where he learnt to mould mozzarella by hand. He now works as a cheesemaker at Olympus Cheese in Brisbane and has set up Casa Motta, an artisan side project with Olympus owners Michael and Desiree Gavriel to showcase buffalo-milk mozzarella.
Why Freshness is everything with mozzarella. The skin or rind should be porcelain-white and taut. "It needs to be like an onion when you break it with your fingers; there should be several different layers beneath," says Motta. "It also needs to be a little milky inside - you should feel the milk in your mouth when you bite.''
How Using buffalo milk from Cairns, in Far North Queensland, and Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, and culture from Italy, it takes between six and seven hours of curd fermentation for the cheese to achieve the characteristic lactic buffalo mozzarella tang. "You need fermentation to be slow, to take its time, because as the curd ferments it eats the lactose to create lactic acid and this gives the right taste," Motta says. His hand-stretched cheeses are delivered to restaurants and delis in Brisbane the day they're made.