Splendido! Italians praise Hampshire mozzarella
Formula One World Champion turned Hampshire farm owner, Jody Scheckter, travelled to Italy at the end of March for a meeting of cheeses. The visit came about after his recent claims that Laverstoke Park Buffalo Mozzarella is at least as good as that made by the Italians.
“We have spent a long time getting our cheese just right” said Jody. “I really do believe we have a fantastic product and our trip to Italy confirmed this. The Italian cheesemakers were certainly impressed with what they tasted!"
"We went down with an aggressive competitive attitude but things changed quickly, they welcomed us with open arms and they gave us such an invaluable insight into their cheese making processes and how they manage animals. It is no question that we learned a lot and came away very inspired to try different things to further improve our mozzarella.’
Jody and his team spent two days visiting buffalo farms in the Campania region of Italy hosted by the Consortium of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana. They explained 96% of buffalo mozzarella is produced in this region. Among the farm visits was mozzarella giant Frattorie Garafalo, the biggest mozzarella producer which has 10,000 buffalo and the historical Torre Lupara farm and Ponte Reale, the first organic and biodynamic farm in Campania.
“There are 97 members of the Consortium, all making buffalo mozzarella” explained Jody. “What we loved about Campania is that it is all about family- brothers, sisters, cousins, mothers, fathers and grandfathers all participate producing their own buffalo mozzarella. So many of the farms and producers we have visited have third or fourth generations of the family working in the business. It is wonderful to see such pride in their products.”
Pier Maria Saccani, Director from Consortium for the Protection of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, commented on the quality of the Hampshire mozzarella: “I think that it’s a good product, different from our own but in my opinion the strict connection with territory has relevance on production. But with reference to different use of buffalo milk, I’m very impressed with their (Laverstoke) ice cream, it’s very good and a very interesting product.”
Tracy Nash from Hampshire Fare, travelled to Italy with Laverstoke giving them support, as they do all Hampshire artisan producers: “There are plans to host the Italian visit to Hampshire; I cannot wait to show them the passion for produce in our county.”