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All the Fresh Mozzarella News That’s Fit to Print


A reader writes: “Where do you go for good burrata?”

What’s a burrata? It’s fresh mozzarella cheese stuffed with a fresh mozzarella curd, which maybe doesn’t sound very good, but it is. It’s really, really good. How good? Russ Parsons in the Los Angeles Times said it best: “Burrata is to mozzarella as foie gras is to chicken liver.” (His 2006 article also tells you everything you’d ever need to know about burrata.)

If you are not in the mood for reading, let me sum it up for you: Picture everything you love about fresh mozzarella—the creaminess, the lightness, the vaporous tang—and imagine it much lighter, much creamier, and much more vaporous.

Interested? Then report to Surdyk’s, which, as far as I know, has the only burrata in town. They even have the exact one that Parsons wrote about in the above article, from California’s Gioia Cheese Company.

However, don’t expect to swoop into Surdyk’s and find it just any old time. I spoke to Surdyk’s cheese buyer, Elise Olson, who told me that they get in an order of a dozen or so every two weeks (you buy the whole 14 to 16 ounce cheese), and that they tend to sell out the day they land. “Burrata is supposed to be eaten the day it’s made,” explains Olson.

However, if you call and request a burrata, Surdyk’s will call you when it arrives, so you don’t have to worry about missing the big day. Hey, it’s the foie gras of mozzarella. You’re not going to miss this chance, are you?

In other fresh mozzarella news....Oh wait, don’t you wish you were watching this on television, and a big squishy white graphic would pop up on the screen, and rotate while synthesizer music played, and splooshy fresh mozzarella sounds echoed, “We’re Live at Five, Your  Trusted Name in Fresh Mozzarella News?” Well, then: To the Live Five Fresh Mozzarella Chopper!

Okay, enough of that. In other fresh mozzarella news, Olson informs me that Surdyk’s now carries real California water buffalo mozzarella from cheesemaker Bubalus Bubalis, which I believe is the United States’ only water buffalo cheesemaker.

In even more fresh mozzarella news, the stuff is on sale all July at Surdyk’s, just $7.99 for an 8-oz ball. “It’s just fantastic,” Olson told me. “It’s got a lot more depth and complexity than anything coming out of Italy.”

Really? I’m not going to get into that, because I know of at least one importer in town who brings in fresh Italian mozzarella—and would beg to differ.

Which reminds me! In other fresh mozzarella news, did you hear about the Mafia ties to Italy’s mozzarella industry, and how it resulted in elevated dioxin levels in the cheese?

Well, in our final bit of fresh mozzarella news this hour, the local importer of Italian mozzarella wants you to know that he gets his goods from Rome, not from Naples, where all the bad stuff is happening, so you can still eat Italian mozzarella without freaking out.

And remember, tomato season is coming, and you’ll want to have all your fresh mozzarella organized before it does.

When we come back from the break we’ll check in with the Live Five WeatherCenter to find out about our fresh mozzarella and burrata weather.

Surdyk’s Cheese Shop
303 E. Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rfischer@mnmo.com

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