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Best Cheeses 2022: Buffalo Milk

Photo by Nina Gallant | Styled by Kendra Smith

BUFFALO MILK BURRATA (pictured above)
Deca & Otto | Colombia

Small-scale farmers have been raising water buffalo in Colombia’s lush northern prairies for generations,
and Deca and Otto works with producers raising 100 percent grass-fed herds to produce their line of fresh cheese, yogurt, and dulce de leche. Their WCCC Best of Class burrata—a pillowy layer of hand-stretched buffalo mozzarella encasing delicate, creamy stracciatella— highlights the flavors of those lush pastures.

This pairing is all about contrast—crunchy and tender, spicy and cooling, sweet and umami. Sometimes it’s fun to play with extremes, and this versatile Chinese condiment plays up the soft, delicate qualities of the burrata as well as its power to temper big, fiery flavors. Add a slice of cantaloupe and a dash of micro cilantro to create an enticing summer appetizer.

Calabro Cheese Corp. | East Haven, Conn.

Some of our most sought-after culinary treasures are byproducts of other foods, and tender, versatile ricotta is no exception. Like ricotta made from cow’s milk cheese, whey from buffalo mozzarella is mixed with a portion of whole milk and heated to extract protein. But unlike cow’s milk ricotta, this buffalo milk version—an ACS First Place winner—offers nearly twice as much fat, creating an incredibly lush, cloudlike cheese with sweet, citrusy notes.

Shepherds Purse Cheeses Ltd. | Thirsk, UK

With six lush blue wheels in their lineup, the ladies
of Shepherd’s Purse know a thing or two about Penicillium roqueforti. Made by hand from the rich milk of a single British herd of Italian water buffalo, WCA Super Gold–winning Buffalo Blue lands on the more assertive side of the flavor spectrum. It’s bold and brash enough to stand up to sweet dessert wines and rich reds alike.

Perenzin Latteria | San Pietro di Feletto, Italy

With a name that translates to “little flower”—a nod to this soft-ripened wheel’s bloomy rind—you can expect sweetness and delicacy. Hidden within the WCA Gold winner’s meltingly rich paste is a dark line running through the interior—tiny bits of black summer truffle added to enhance this style’s naturally milky, mushroomy profile.

Alexandra Jones

Alexandra Jones is a writer and recovering cheesemonger based in Philadelphia. Her work on food, agriculture, social justice, and sustainability has appeared in outlets like USA Today, Food & Wine, Atlas Obscura, Civil Eats, The Counter, Audubon, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Modern Farmer. She’s the author of Stuff Every Cheese Lover Should Know, a pocket guide to cheese from Quirk Books.

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