A Cheesy Lullaby

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I’m a cheese lover. All kinds, all textures; to me, cheese is comfort and pleasure in one bite (or ten bites). I can be happy with any brand of cheese, but I like to treat my guests to the best flavors I can find. For my guests, there’s only one type of burrata that touches the table – Gioia.

As we already know, I’m a sucker for a good story. The tale of an opened container – a sweet scent, the doughy texture and delicate creamy taste – is heartwarming enough to build into a lullaby. Meanwhile, the brand’s description of the cheese’s creation is just art. From gioiacheeseinc.com:

“Every piece of burrata that Gioia makes — all 1,500 pounds a day — is formed by hand. The process seems simple. Grab a handful of hot mozzarella curd out of its salt-water bath. It’s still a little shaggy at this point, like unkneaded bread dough. As quickly and gently as possible, massage it into a smooth ball and then flatten it into a disc.

Grab a handful of filling. This is so moist it practically oozes cream and it is even rougher than the mozzarella dough (the Italians call it stracciatelle, which means “rags”).

Put the filling in the center of the disc and quickly begin to stretch the mozzarella around it, much as you would stretch a pizza dough. When the skin is big enough to completely cover the filling, spin the top to tie it in a knot, almost like you’d seal a balloon. Finally, tear off the top knot, leaving a smooth ball.

It sounds simple, but the whole thing must be accomplished very gently and very quickly. Mozzarella dough is temperamental, and rough or prolonged handling turns it tough. From beginning to end, it should take less than 10 seconds to form a ball of burrata. And, of course, you get one shot to get it right.”

How poetic and charming. A story like that can only beget a product delicious enough to daydream about.

I find Gioia at local specialty markets like delis and Italian food stores. In LA you can find it at Larchmont Wine and Spirits or Bay Cities on the west side. At around $9 for 1 pound it sounds pricey, but it usually lasts me two to three recipes (depending on how many people I’m feeding). And, if you have the patience, you can save a few dollars by ordering it online from gioiacheeseinc.com for only $6.99.

Summer is the perfect time to try out a new burrata. Place it atop juicy tomatoes with basil and drizzle with olive oil, stuff summer’s beauty – squash blossoms with this creamy treat, pair with grilled peaches and honey, or keep it simple and just spoon some onto a great baguette. Try it while the weather’s warm, you won’t regret it!




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