Burrata is back!

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It is with much happiness that we can report…Burrata is back! The truth is, all the cheeses which we sell in our Cheese Shop are delicious. They each have their own personality, unique flavor profiles and textures which speak to palates of all sorts. But there are a handful of special items which we don’t have all the time, and which when they return are met with joyful abandon. Burrata is one of those.

Burrata, Italian for buttered and pronounced “boor-ah-tah”, is a luscious jewel box made of mozzarella on the outside and filled with cream and tiny shreds of mozzarella on the inside. Need I say more? It’s the Fabergé egg of food. It looks like what Gucci would make if they made drawstring purses out of cheese.

These beautiful, bright white balloons of mozzarella, when popped, exude an oozy, cream-filled center. If you already like fresh mozzarella, you’re going to love Burrata. It’s wonderful as a topping for crusty bread or dotted on top of a pizza, but really shines as the star in a Caprese Salad in place of standard fresh mozzarella. When the creamy contents are mixed with a drizzling of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar, the dressing it makes for heirloom tomatoes is out of this world!

Originally Burrata in Italy was made with the milk of water buffaloes; these days it is more often made with cow’s milk. After working with several brands both domestic and imported, we decided our favorite was Luizzi Angeloni Cheese, from North Haven, CT. A multi-year American Cheese Society award winner, Luizzi Cheese is a fifth generation artisanal cheesemaker utilizing rBST hormone free milk from dairies in Vermont and New York.

Jump into warm weather now with a container of fresh Burrata. You can enjoy it by itself or by using it with any of these recipes: http://www.finecooking.com/ingredient/burrata 8oz $8.99

3 Myths About Parmesan

Cravero Parmigiano-Reggiano Raise your hand if trying to understand the Parmesan vs. Parmigiano-Reggiano debate hurts your brain. Which one is better? Are they the same? Does it matter at all?

It does matter, if you want it to. There's that old saying, You are what you eat. If that's the sort of daily mantra you like to repeat to yourself, and if munching on the most delicious food is your thing, than you're going to want to know how and why parmesan is quite different from Parmigiano-Reggiano. Let's discuss a few myths:

1. The word parmesan means Parmigiano-Reggiano This is true! Parmesan is the English translation of Italy's Parmigiano-Reggiano. However, this doesn't mean that products designated parmesan are made in the same way or of the same quality. The United States has a stinky little history of not following international laws for naming. Much like Champagne and Kobe Beef, Parmigiano-Reggiano must be made to very specific specifications, and under specific circumstances, before it can be christened with that name. Very simply, the rules are: Parmigiano must be made with only three ingredients. Those ingredients are milk made in the Parma/Reggio region of Italy, salt, and animal rennet. It seems so simple, but check the back of the next bag of grated parmesan you buy. If it contains cellulose powder, potassium sorbate, or other ingredients like that, then it's an imposter. No Parmigiano for you.

2. All versions of Parmigiano-Reggiano (real or otherwise) tend to be dry and best for cooking Completely false. If you're seeking out true Parmigiano, you'll find that it's actually wonderful eaten on its own. Cravero Parmigiano-Reggiano (the one we sell at our shops) is particularly succulent, with sweet notes of caramel and cherry. Giorgio Cravero--the man who selects and ages each wheel at Cravero in Bra, Italy--prefers his Parmigiano to have intentional sweetness and moisture. Thank goodness! Because it's lovely and worthy of a spot on your cheese board. Skip the round green shaker of grainy parmesan in favor of a Parmigiano you can actually taste.

3. All versions of Parmigiano-Reggiano are fatty and bad for you, just like most cheeses Oh no. No no no. So long as you avoid the bastardized versions of this cheese that contain anything other than milk, salt, and rennet, you're consuming something good for you. The concentration of pure milk in Parmigiano's paste means it's full of protein, calcium, and phosphorous and is free of additives and preservatives. True Parmigiano is so uniquely nutritious that it's been known to be a staple with astronauts on space missions. So take that on your next portage to the boundary waters, hipsters!

[images via Cravero]