The Brilliant Burrata

By Allison Fishman

Published on October 8, 2009

Though burrata's name, which means "buttery" in Italian, accurately describes its smooth texture and inviting flavor, this cheese can nevertheless be petulant. It'll give you just 48 hours to enjoy its deliciousness, and if you don't—well, let's just say you had your chance.

What is this high-maintenance treat? Take a commonplace ball of mozzarella, and fill it with leftover curds and cream before you seal it up like a pouch. For the complete process, this piece from Serious Eats shows how burrata is made in Italy.

A ball of burrata is plumped like a water balloon and weighty in the hand. Its flavor is gentle yet complex, a sophisticated step above the virginal taste of fresh mozzarella. Unfortunately, it's got an early curfew: if you don't eat burrata within two days of the time it's made, it loses all its nuance and softness.

Though the cheese is just gaining attention on the East Coast, where the 60-year-old Philadelphia cheese shop Di Bruno Bros. has been making it for a few years, it's been popular in Los Angeles, thanks to SoCal-based Italian cheese-maker Gioia Cheese Co., which has been turning out 1,500 pounds of it a day for over a decade.

When you see burrata at your grocery store or cheesemonger, scrap that night's dinner plans and take a ball (or ten) home. Serve it simply with a supporting cast that'll let its creamy richness shine: sliced tomatoes, basil, and the best, grassy extra-virgin olive oil you can find. Or, serve it with fresh figs and balsamic vinegar, as recommended by the Kitchy Kitchen.

Just remember to enjoy burrata as soon as you can; she's not the type to keep waiting.

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