Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese with an outer shell of fresh mozzarella and an inner core of mozzarella and cream. The result is a delicious creamy treat that pairs particularly well with fresh fruit, tomatoes, crusty bread and prosciutto. It also makes a wonderful addition to salad, pizza and pasta. Always serve with a great olive oil.
Originating in Andria, Italy, in the Apulia region of Southern Italy, down by the heel of the boot, burrata is made from cow and buffalo milk. Burrata is thought to have first been made at the Bianchini farm in the early 1900's as a way to make use of mozzarella scraps. Don't you love a great repurposing story?
Short shelf life
Burrata must be eaten fresh. It was originally packaged in asphodel leaves that provided a telltale sign of how old the cheese was. If the leaves were vibrant green, the cheese was fresh. If they were faded, the cheese was getting on in days. Pay attention to the expiration date on your package. I recommend buying burrata on the same day you plan to eat it, or no earlier than one day before.
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Where to buy burrata
Cheese stores are your best bet for finding an imported Italian burrata, but more and more grocery stores are carrying fresh burrata, including U.S. made burrata. You can often find it at Whole Foods, and here in Southern California at Gelson's and Bristol Farms. Costco and Walmart will sometimes carry domestic brands. You can even buy burrata on Amazon, albeit with some hefty shipping costs.
There is some great domestic burrata
Given burrata must be eaten within a couple days, domestic burrata is not a bad way to go. There are some good ones.
Di Stefano burrata
Di Stefano Cheese Co., a family-owned company located in Pomona, California makes a wonderful burrata using panna from grass-fed cows. Panna is a particularly thick cream that naturally separates from the milk. Nancy Silverberg sources burrata for her Mozza Osteria restaurants from Di Stefano.
I recently bought some really great burrata by Gioia at The Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. I was delighted to discover that Gioia burrata is made in South El Monte, California, about an hour from my home. I see a field trip in my future! This burrata comes in a big one pound tub.