Featured FOOD & WINE

Stracciatella Cheese: You Have To Taste It, Really!

June 25, 2019

On our last trip to Puglia, a dish of stracciatella cheese was set on the buffet table at Sotto Le Cummerse, an albergo diffuso (scattered site hotel) in Locorotondo, a magical white town where we spent several memorable nights.

Breakfast at Sotto Le Cummerse

While Sotto Le Cummerse’s sleeping accommodations are scattered around the tiny town, guests come together for the complimentary buffet breakfast served in a charming breakfast room on one of the winding streets.

Each morning, the buffet table is filled with home-baked pastries and breads made fresh daily by Valeria, nuts and grains, freshly squeezed blood orange juice, and fresh cheeses including stracciatella, ricotta and burrata, all made locally.

 

Stracciatella cheese on the buffet table at Sotto Le Commerse in Locorotondo

Stracciatella cheese on the buffet table at Sotto Le Commerse in Locorotondo

Our introduction to stracciatella cheese

While we are admitted cheese lovers and were familiar with other soft Italian cheeses, including ricotta and burrata, stracciatella cheese (also called stracciatella di bufala) was new-to-us.

We loved the way the creamy stracciatella tasted spread on a chunk of freshly baked bread. The cheese is also eaten on toasted crostini drizzled with olive oil, as a complement to tomatoes on a salad, or as a topping for pasta or pizza.

This is what we learned about this delicious tasting cheese:

What is stracciatella cheese?

  • Stracciatella is actually a soft, white, creamy buffalo (or sometimes, cow’s) milk cheese made with straccia (little shreds), using a technique that involves stretching and shredding.

Where does stracciatella come from?

  • The origins of the cheese are in the province of Foggia, which is located in the south of Puglia, but a similar cheese is also produced in other regions, notably Lazio and Campania.

How does stracciatella cheese differ from burrata?

  • Stracciatella is used to make burrata—the most famous of which is Burrata di Andria, a product with a PGI designation that certifies it is made in one defined geographic location in Puglia using the same techniques used for generations. To make the burrata, stracciatella is mixed with thick buttery, cream and placed inside a pouch made with mozzarella and cream.
Salad plate with burrata and tomatoes

Salad plate with burrata and tomatoes

I’ve heard that term before. What’s in a name?

  • The cheese isn’t to be confused with stracciatella gelato, which is gelato laced with fine chocolate shavings (somewhat like American chocolate chip ice cream. It also shouldn’t be confused with straciatella soup, a Roman dish made with egg and broth (the egg is broken and passed through a fork making it look somewhat like Chinese egg drop soup). What the three do have in common is the use of a similar shredding technique.

So you may wonder why I have stracciatella on my mind right now?

At this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show, held in the Javits Center in New York, Belgioioso, an artisanal Wisconsin cheese producer announced that it was beginning to sell the cheese in 8- and 16-oz cups. A few producers told me they were selling large amounts of the cheese primarily to chefs (as opposed to home cooks) in some of the finest restaurants.

Fresh stracciatella doesn’t keep well in the refrigerator so I presume this is why it is difficult to finded the imported version. This stateside version promises a shelf life of 37 days in the refrigerator.

Container of Belgioioso stracciatella cheese

Container of Belgioioso stracciatella cheese

If you like creamy fresh cheeses, I’m sure you’ll like this one. If you’re headed to Puglia, give it a try! Until I’m able to return to southern Italy again, I’m going to be scouring my local supermarkets to find the American wannabe.


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Stracciatella Cheese from Puglia


 

  • Reply
    Kemkem
    June 26, 2019 at 10:11 am

    We just had lunch a little bit ago but l had to show this post to my husband and he is drooling right now. He loves burrata and on any visit to his mom, we must go to the grocery store first thing for some fresh cheese :-).

  • Reply
    Lori
    June 28, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Irene, you’re killing me;) Stracciatella on fresh baked bread and then olive oil!! So good to hear that there’s hope through Belgioioso. Now if we can get local markets to bring it in. Luscious article.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      June 28, 2019 at 2:56 pm

      I just asked for it to be ordered at my local supermarket. Fingers crossed!

  • Reply
    Carol Colborn
    June 28, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Very interesting. My husband and I love cheese and have never heard of stracciatella cheese. Now that it is made in Wisconsin and lasts 37 days in the ref, I wonder if it is available in groceries?

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      June 29, 2019 at 10:25 am

      I tried two markets who didn’t have it but said they could order it.

  • Reply
    Allison Fraser
    June 30, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Love stracciatella! It was fun to read about your experience.

  • Reply
    Patti Morrow
    June 30, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    I love cheese so much and it’s something I can eat virtually limitless on my Keto diet. I’ve never had Stracciatella, but I’m going to seek it out when I’m in the Mediterranean in August.

  • Reply
    Johanna
    July 1, 2019 at 5:05 am

    My dietary downfall is cheese! I love it. I haven’t tried Stracciatella, but it’s on my list now. Have just been on a barge cruise in France and my eyes were opened to so many wonderful local cheeses of the Champagne region. My favourite was Epoisse cheese – have you tried it?

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      July 1, 2019 at 8:30 am

      Barge cruising in France is a cheese-lovers dream! The cheeses are so well paired and beautifully presented. We ate so many whose names I forgot. Our favorite was Langres but I’ll be searching for Epoisse!

  • Reply
    Karen Warren
    July 3, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Although I’m a cheeseaholic I’ve never really liked fresh cheese. But I haven’t tried stracciatella – perhaps this could be the one to change my mind…

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