Monday, June 7, 2010

Now You Know

Mozzarella cheese. Nummy, right? Perfect with just about everything. But do you know where it comes from? There are several theories but here’s the one I like best.

If you’re thinking Italy you would be wrong. Not originally anyway, though the Romans are very involved in its history. Two thousand years ago, the Roman Empire was extensive. One of the conquered regions was Egypt. At the time, Julius Caesar sent Anthony to oversee the conquest.

As legend goes, Anthony fell in love with Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. They supposedly spent hours cruising the Nile on barges pulled by water buffalo, feasting on cheese made from the milk of these animals. Soon the cheese, dubbed mozzarella, became associated with the passion the pair shared.

Anthony enjoyed it so much, he sent water buffalo and instructions on how to make the cheese back to Rome as a gift for Caesar. It was a huge hit which led to water buffalo being bred in Italy in order to make enough cheese for the populous. Over time, mozzarella was attributed to Italy and could not be duplicated anywhere.

Most mozzarella is now made from cow’s milk worldwide instead of the traditional water buffalo milk. Even so, there is no comparison to the delicate flavor of fresh mozzarella. And no, that stuff that comes shredded in bags at all grocery stores really doesn’t count.

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