Mozzarella - Fior di Latte - Burrata
Tours in Italy, Florence apartments
Ciao a tutti!
Cheese, glorious cheese!  We love Italian cheeses - from the ones up north in Piedmont, to pecorino di Toscano to the south - Campania for the mozzarella di bufala. This month we are sharing information and insights on Italian cheeses from the south of Italy! Why? Well, we are headed to Puglia this month to scout more superb places to take our culinary tour groups (beginning next year!). One of our fave things in Puglia?   BURRATA! If you've never had fresh, just made, it is something to behold...and taste!

Enjoy the read!  Tune in to Facebook or Instagram and follow our travels this month!
Buon appetito!
Gina and Mary
Mozzarella. Mozzarella di Bufala. Fior di Latte. Burrata.
A rose by any other name? Hardly! These quintessential Italian cheeses are loved, sought
after, imitated and generally misunderstood as "just another famous Italian cheese".
Actually, all Italian cheeses have their own region, heritage and history. The fresh, cream products from Southern Italy that we lump together as "mozzarella" are no different. Let me explain each one and hopefully generate a deeper appreciation for these fresh dairy dreams in your cheesy soul. As with any Italian product that respects its history and traditions, the ingredients are of utmost importance.

Here are the differences between mozzarella di bufala, mozzarella and fior di latte:
Mozzarella di Bufala is made from buffalo milk in the area south and north of Naples (Battipiano and Caserta provinces respectively). Mozzarella has always meant buffalo milk in that area, where the people of Campania have a real affinity and culture for it. For them it goes without saying that it's buffalo milk; if it's made with cows milk, it's known as fior di latte (milk flower).
Once you leave the Naples area, though, even Italians from other regions, who don't have a mozzarella culture and history, call it mozzarella no matter what milk is used. It's still pretty good, but it doesn't beat the fresh mozzarella and fior di latte that is made in small, neighborhood caseificios with local milk in and around Napoli!

Burrata is made in another mozzarella region on the other side of southern Italy, in Puglia. The Apian plains around Bari were especially known for the milk production of the local cows, the mozzarella made here is truly special. Burrata is a sack of mozzarella wrapped
around fresh, buttery curds. Wrapped in local lily leaves (or green plastic today), it is best on the day it's made. Which means that it is sheer heaven!

Want to know how they make all these products in the old country? You won't learn it on a YouTube video that starts with processed curd. But you can learn it by coming on one of our culinary tours to Naples/Campania or Puglia!  Here's a quick overview:

Real mozzarella is made by heating the whole milk, adding rennet to separate the curd and whey. The blocks of curd are drained and then shredded and the shreds are added back to
the hot whey. Stirred until they start to melt and look stretchy, the mozzarellas are then formed into braids or balls.

Purchased on a day to day basis, the locals buy what they need, eat it and then go back to the caseificio the next day to get more. If there is any leftover, it's left at room temperature in it's liquid. To put it in the fridge is a sin, as that turns the mozzarella rubbery.

I'm looking forward to eating some fresh burrata and mozzarella when Mary and I are doing research next week in Puglia! Follow our travels on Facebook! I'm sure there will be at least one video showing how they make burrata!
This Month's Italian saying...

Hai stomaco da struzzo! 
Which means - "you have the stomach of an ostrich"! (uno struzzo is ostrich)
Usually said of someone who can eat anything and suffer no side effects.  
What are your travel dreams for 2018 and beyond?
If a culinary focused tour is on your list consider joining Gina and Mary to explore
the wonderful regions of Italy. Dates are on our website for
Bologna Parmigiano
Parmigiano Reggiano tour!
2018/2019! (click here)
This year we'll be making a stop in Bologna again at the end of our Tuscany tours - check out the dates and details here! 
As mentioned earlier - we're planning our Puglia culinary tour, and we're super excited about this gorgeous region! And we'll return to Piedmont and Tuscany of course. If you're interested, click here to jump to our website. EccoLaCucina
Our full immersion food and wine tours offer an insider's view of the beautiful regions of Italy, unveiling hidden gems in Tuscany, Piedmont, Campania, Puglia and Emila Romagna. The small group tours are all inclusive: accommodations in the lovely villas or quaint hotels, winery tours, classes, all meals including wine, excursions and transportation to these excursions, plus they are worry free - we'll take care of everything! We are with you every step of the way to show you the best each region has to offer. The smallness of our groups allow you to enjoy and learn and see places you'd never find on your own. So many of our guests have developed close, lifelong friendships during our weeks - its just a natural as you share wonderful, fun experiences!

Check out this article written about us and our life-changing trips in Italy! 
Not sure where to start? Give Mary a call (972) 342-8308 or!

Wouldn't you love to see this guy?
Baby Water Buffalo! He was talking to us.. 
Antique & Vintage Tour in Tuscany this May!
There are some last minute openings for a tour given by some friends of ours - May 4-13, 2018. Their focus is on shopping and finding antiques or special decor pieces while basing themselves on a beautiful estate. They explore the countryside hill towns and also include the famous Tuscan cities of Florence ( fabulous finds here!) and Siena and have Rome included at the end of their tour. If you're interested - click here for more details. Call or email questions! Hurry - the spots will sell out and you won't want to miss this girlfriends' trip!  Join like minded people and explore Tuscany with these gals!
Florence Apartment
Our good friend has a spectacular apartment in a quiet area of Florence that she is renting. This is just a 7 minutes walk to the Duomo, but yet on a quiet street away from the partying crowds. Close and convenient! It is in a former palazzo on the second floor and has amazing features - an original fresco from the 1700s along with all the modern conveniences and spacious too. Mary is handling the rentals, so contact her if you're going to Florence. Its a better alternative to AirBnB! You know what you're getting plus Gina and Mary have stayed there and can vouch that its fabulous! 972-342-8308 or

Gina Stipo and Mary Stipo Potter | Ecco La Cucina| 1-972-342-8308| Email | Website