As part of the Mediterranean Diet class offered here at the school, yours truly was invited by the eccentric and passionate instructor Emanuele Lombardo, PhD to visit the local cheese shop early this morning. As in 6 AM! Here you can see the small group gathering outside in the early morning darkness. The employees start working around 3 AM!
There are two operations going on here, the first is the mozzarella where the cheese curds are worked by hand in the HOT water by Sig. Borderi, assisted by son-in-law Gaetano.
The passionate and eccentric Lombardo hands out samples.
Each and every braided mozzarella in this store is worked by the hands of the owner, the same fellow selling the cheese in the market through midday. TIme and skilled hands are the keys.
The last operation we viewed was the making of the ricotta. Say REE-KOTAH. This is not technically CHEESE though it's called that in the USA. It's actually a by-product of the cheese-making process using the whey, a very high protein substance. This huge cauldron with a fiery gas flame underneath (no OHSA here folks!) is heated while the foam is scooped off the top, eventually resulting in wonderfully smooth and tasty ricotta, as in cooked (cotta) and recooked (ri) as the milk has already been heated once in the cheese-making process. Of course they gave us samples, which were gobbled down quickly, even at this insane hour in the morning. Photos of the finished products will be in a future post. Buon lavoro ragazzi!!!! And Grazie mille to Lombardo for the invitation!