During the first half of the 20th century, a creative and ingenious cheese maker, Lorenzo Bianchino Chieppa from Apulia, a region in the South of Italy, implemented a way of reusing scraps of mozzarella (leftovers of the mozzarella making process) and, at once, prevent fresh milk that couldn’t be delivered from going to waste. He thus created this mouthwatering cheese which soon became a staple in Italian cuisine, and is now appreciated all over the world: burrata di Puglia.
Properties and taste of burrata cheese
With its fresh, yet rich and tasty flavour, burrata can be also an amazing option when creating vegetarian dishes. It is also a good source of proteins: in fact, this product is rich in proteins of high biological quality. In addition, it can provide calcium, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, and PP. Moreover, burrata is a handmade, carefully crafted product, and for its production, only top quality and fresh ingredients are used: it’s fresh cheese at its best!
One can argue that not all cheeses are vegetarian, though… most of them use an enzyme (rennet) which comes from the stomach lining of some animals like calves, lambs and goats, to aid in the coagulation process, while others, such as mascarpone and ricotta, don’t need rennet to be produced, and are indeed vegetarian.
Burrata, unlike mascarpone and ricotta, needs to be processed using rennet. Nevertheless, most cheese makers, nowadays, use vegetable rennet, a plant based product (mainly extracted from a flower, Cynara cardunculus, also known as artichoke thistle) that is just as effective as its animal counterpart.
And that’s why “burrata di Puglia” has been certified as vegetarian product by the Italian Vegetarian Society.
How to eat it
Lots of vegetarian recipes can then benefit from the addition of this versatile dairy product, which will provide texture, amazing flavour and a touch of freshness.
It would go very well, for instance, in a summer salad with peaches, tomatoes (or why not? Sun-dried tomatoes) lettuce, toasted pine nuts and pomegranate.
This gorgeous cheese pairs beautifully with aubergines, too. In Apulia, for instance, it is traditionally eaten with orecchiette (a local fresh pasta), marinated aubergines, pine nuts and chilies.
Roasted cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, chargrilled aubergines, extra virgin olive oil, basil and burrata can be the topping of a vegetarian bruschetta.
Burrata also goes really well with walnuts and hazelnuts, a staple in vegetarian cuisine.
But this beautifully versatile cheese can also be used in desserts, particularly in cold summer desserts, paired with chocolate or fruit, like fresh berries, and honey.