2749 Church Hill Road
S. Woodstock, VT 05071
Mozzarella is a soft cheese that is best fresh. I got water buffalo mozzarella before from Vace that was flown in from Italy. It was very tasty and creamy but it lacked the “freshness” of really fresh mozzarella. When it is fresh, mozzarella should also be a little squeaky like cheese curds. With this in mind, we made it a mission to try and get some fresh water buffalo mozzarella from one of the few places you can in U.S. This stuff should be the schiznit, did it live up to expectations?…read on!
Water buffalo are not something you expect to see grazing the Vermont countryside. They are hairy, horned animals that would look more at home in a rice paddy in Asia.
Water buffalo milk is much thicker than normal cow milk. It contains much less water and more protein and fat. This all makes for very yummy cheese. The best mozzarella is made using water buffalo milk, and it is prized by Italians. The higher percentage of solids in the milk means you can get more cheese from a gallon of milk. The bummer is that water buffalo produce less milk than cows. A dairy cow will produce between 50 and 70 pounds of milk a day, while a water buffalo will produce 10-12 pounds a day.
Bufala di Vermont is one of two places in the U.S. were water buffalo are raised for their milk and the only place making water buffalo mozzarella. Up until recently Bufala di Vermont was known as the Woodstock Water Buffalo Company, which unfortunately closed. Luckily, an Italian born Canadian named Frank Abballe took up the reins and tried to make a go of it. Abballe plans to diversify offerings and improve distribution. I am hopful we can start getting their products down in DC.
They are not quite set up to for tourists yet. Right now you drive up dirt road and park and then go up to a building opposite their barn. This building houses the cheese making facilities and their office, which is upstairs. Luckily someone was in! He invited us to look around the barn and also say hi to the new baby calves in their pen. They are curious and beyond cute. He said they just took one of the calves down to a Boston Whole Foods for a little publicity tour. I am sure he won over more than a few hearts.
After saying hi to the water buffalo, we went back to the offices and bought a ball of mozzarella. The guy went and got it right from the cheese making plant. It doesn’t get much fresher than that! He also threw in a container of their Water Buffalo Yogurt, which was a real bonus.
The mozzarella was amazing! The texture was airy and soft, yet creamy, and had a real structure instead of just being a blob. There was also so much more mozzarella flavor than ordinary fresh mozzarella. To me, fresh mozzarella is usually pretty bland; this cheese tasted like cheese, not a piece of styrofoam. It is possible to get the same flavor with imported mozzarella or the same texture with fresh, artisan mozzarella, but this brought both aspects together perfectly. We ate half of it straight from the container. It was that good. When we got home we tossed the rest with some tomatoes, olive oil and salt.
The yogurt they gave us was equally amazing. It was almost as thick as a custard and creamier than you could believe. That is because there was lots of fat in it. Whatever, it was better than ice cream. If you ever see their mozzarella or yogurt, you MUST buy and try.