The History of Mozzarella and Italian Food

Did you know that a very important holiday just passed? That’s right, June 4th was National Cheese Day. We understand that this particular holiday may have passed you by, but that doesn’t mean you missed your chance to celebrate cheese. This month at Tammaro’s Cucina, we’re going to take a closer look at one particular cheese that is very important to Italian cooking: mozzarella. We can’t imagine Italian food without mozzarella, and luckily we don’t have to.


But how much do you know about mozzarella and Italian food? Let’s learn a bit more about this all-important cheese.


It has always come from Campania.

Different regions of Italy produce different foods and products, and the region of Campania is the home of mozzarella. We don’t know its precise origin, but our best guess is the part of Campania near Naples. Considering Naples is the birthplace of pizza, that does make sense. The techniques for making many cheeses, including mozzarella, were introduced to Italy by the Romans, who learned them from the Greeks. The name “mozzarella” refers to how it’s made; it comes from the Italian word mozzare, which means to cut off or separate.


It’s traditionally made from buffalo milk.

We all know that cheese is a dairy product, but we probably assume that it’s from cow’s milk or sometimes goat’s milk. But all mammals produce milk, including buffalo! Arabs first introduced water buffalo to Europe in the 9th century, and cheese-makers soon discovered that creamy buffalo milk was ideal for making cheese. Monks played a particularly important role in perfecting the mozzarella-making process. By the 12th century, Mozzarella di Bufala was one of Campania’s most popular food products.


It has a special status from the EU.

The European Union grants protection designation of origin (PDO) status to certain regional foods. The PDO status ensures that other products do not have misleading labels. In 1996, the EU granted PDO status to Mozzarella di Bufala Campania. Anything that bears this label must be made from buffalo milk produced in specific areas of Campania.


Authentic Italian Food at Tammaro’s Cucina

If you’re looking for an authentic Italian experience close to home, come to Tammaros’ Cucina! Enjoy authentic Italian food right here in Litchfield. You can even order online and enjoy our food in the comfort of your home!


Visit us at 469 Charles Bancroft Highway for lunch or dinner, Thursday through Sunday.