Lourdes Smith comes from a long line of Italian cheesemakers; her great-grandfather Alphonso Fiore made cheese in Italy and then in Hoboken, New Jersey after immigrating to the US. She was inspired early on by watching her grandfather Joe, who had taken over Alphonso’s shop, making mozzarella, ricotta and basket cheese. Her business in Somerville, Massachusetts, whose name translates into “my grandfather’s flower,” is a salute to him.
Lourdes sources mozzarella curd from partner farms. She recently worked with Shy Brothers Farm in Westport, MA, which is run by two sets of fraternal twins, to develop a curd recipe using their antibiotic and hormone-free cow’s milk. Shy Brothers’ cows graze on pasture in a peninsula that juts out into the Westport River. After Lourdes receives the curd, she transforms it by hand each morning in her Somerville, MA kitchen.
The cheesemaking process begins by breaking the curd into even pieces using a tool called a guitar. Lourdes then adds hot water to the curd, which slowly brings it up to melting temperature so that it can be stretched using a wooden paddle, then shaped. The resulting mozzarella is moist and refreshing, soft in texture, milky and buttery with a hint of salt.
Burrata originated in the Murgia area of Italy. It’s a disk of fresh mozzarella that is shaped into a pouch, inside of which is stuffed stracciatella, a mix of fresh cream, salt and curds that have been pulled into strings. Fiore di Nonno Burrata is made in several unique combinations that play with sweetness, savory and tangy flavors. Mascarpone Burrata is filled with Italian mascarpone cheese, which lends a buttery flavor, and Greek yogurt for a bit of a tang.
Lourdes suggests serving Mascarpone Burrata with smoked trout, saltine crackers and bread and butter pickles, or with citrus fruits.