Mozzarella - Smoked (Maplebrook Farm)
Maplebrook Farm was founded in 2003 after a chance encounter. Founder, Johann Englert, came across Al Ducci's Groceria in Manchester, Vermont during a visit and when she tasted their mozzarella, it transported her back to her time in Italy during college. Johann immediately bought 20 pieces of the mozzarella since she knew she couldn’t get anything that good in Boston, where she lives. After returning home, she contacted the Al Ducci’s and spoke to the owner’s son, Mike Scheps, who happened to be the cheesemaker and asked him if he could supply her in Boston with the curd to make their own mozzarella. With an answer of yes, the agreement was in place and Maplebrook Farm was born. Today, Maplebrook Farm is a major producer of artisanal cheese on the east coast. It employs around 20 cheesemakers, who are each trained in old world cheesemaking techniques. The Farm sources its rBGH free milk from small family farms throughout Vermont to make their line of mostly Italian cheeses. Mike still is the head cheesemaker for the majority of their cheeses, but as of 2010 now has help from Domenico Marchitelli, who makes the Burrata and Scamorza. Domenico hails from Puglia, Italy, the birthplace of Burrata. Maplebrook’s Smoked Mozzarella made daily by hand. The mozzarella is produced by “stretching” cow’s milk curd into small balls. Stretching is a technique where the curd is kneaded and pulled until it is a like a dense dough. Once the balls of cheese are formed, they are briefly set into a salt-water solution, which helps the cheese develop its flavor. After soaking, the cheese is transferred to a smoker and smoked over Cherry wood chips for2 ½ hours. The resulting cheese has a light flavor and no rind.
Smoked Mozzarella works very well with roasted vegetables such as eggplant and squash. It can also be added to meatless dishes that need a smoky, savory punch. Depending on the dish, the cheese can pair very nicely with an off-dry white wine such as Gewürztraminer or Riesling. It can also pair nicely with a deep red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.