Variously described as; “King of all the cheeses”; possessed of a “beautifully balanced taste” and “a luscious blend of fresh cream and soft mozzarella shreds”, Burrtata inspires 2 reactions in the main.
Firstly, it turns normally sane folks into babbling idiots ! Makes them declare their love for this white blob, makes them a little teary-eyed and makes them shout their love from the rooftops! Scary, huh ?
This is the sort of commitment normally reserved for those frighteningly complex, fancy, Michelin-starred dishes. Burrata lovers are prone to bang on and on and on about its unique ‘combination of textures’, the appropriate serving temperature (room) and pointing out, rather too forcefully, that “it is NOT mozzarella. It’s MUCH better than that!”
And secondly ? Well, how can I delicately put this ? It genuinely attracts double-entendres and smutty comments like a 2nd rate 70s TV sitcom. Examples ? By the bucket load, but this is a family blog, so let me restrict them to a couple.
“A supple pouch of tender cheese” or perhaps you would prefer “a cheese sack full of cream”. Honestly, it’s enough to make this weary blog writer blush.
Once we have carefully tiptoed through the verbal minefield to allow a grown-up discussion, we are immediately faced with the Burrata Conundrum, namely; what should we pick to accompany this marvellous creation concocted from milk, rennet* and cream ?
A product so important, that it has its own Protected geographical indication. Which is akin to Champagne, or Parmigiano Reggiano. That is to say, only Burrata di Andria is authenticated to come from the original creators, located in the Apulia region on the heel of Italy’s famous boot.
But the Conundrum also means that connoisseurs argue long into the wee, small, Grappa-fuelled hours on the appropriate serving partner.
Some will suggest that the “cheese stands alone” and there is much to be found in the simple pleasure of life, as originally intended by the Andrian farmers. We can imagine them enjoying their freshly-made burrata with nothing more than a sprinkle of autumn sunshine and a glass of Primitivo, an image of a life less complex.
But, others will counter – wait up! Surely our cuisine has progressed and we deserve more choices ? And there is a logical – and very tasty – argument to taking a ‘compare and contrast’ approach. So, many of us will enjoy fresh, sweet cherry tomatoes, the fruit and slight acidity cutting through the rich creaminess of the cheese. Perhaps drizzled with balsamic dressing and a little arugula on the side.
Also, burrata is a perfect accompaniment to basil and garlic-rubbed ciabatta. Or to offset the zing in a piece of piquant ‘Nduja.
But regardless of how you choose to enjoy burrata, you can be sure of its smooth, elegant and subtle flavour. Of its creamy unctuous texture as it splits decorously from its pouch. And of the final satisfaction that upon completion, there are still many, many more ways to enjoy the King of the Cheeses.
* in case you were wondering, rennet is an enzyme which comes from a calf’s stomach. Feel free to say “yeeugh” , but don’t let it put you off – it’s in all cheeses.