When wandering the streets of Paris, you’ll find a fromagerie on almost every corner. However, if you delve a little deeper within the urban jungle, you can find a nice surprise in the world of cheese. In Rue Basfroi in the 11th Arrondisement lies a recent addition to the Paris cheese scene. Nanina is the first Parisian urban dairy to make a raw milk buffalo mozzarella. Yes, buffalo mozzarella. Made in Paris.
Who Makes It?
The dairy was born a year and a half ago as the result of a partnership of Julien Carotenuto and Franco Picciuolo, two gentlemen with Italian heritage. Franco was born in France and is a third generation cheesemaker. Julien, who previously worked in the restaurant trade, had a grandfather who hailed from Italy. He told Julien of the delicious fresh cheeses from Naples. Although buffalo mozzarella is readily available throughout Paris, the quality is not the same. This triggered an idea to rectify this, as well as to produce the freshest product possible for the Parisian people.
Twice a week, 800 litres of raw buffalo milk is driven to the Parisian dairy to be transformed into fresh mozzarella. The milk comes from a cooperative of 12 farms, each with roughly 450 buffalos in the Cantal region of the Auvergne. These buffalos are in pasture as much as possible and eat only grass and hay. Buffalo milk is richer than cow milk in nutrients, protein, and fat. It’s also digestible for those unable to consume cow milk due to its proteins.
Nanina’s mozzarella is a Campanian-style, with an identical texture to Italian buffalo mozzarella. It’s a little firm to the touch and juicy within. Its flavour, however, is a little lighter and a bit different. Julien explained to me that this was mostly due to the buffalos’ feed. In Italy, they are also fed maize and soya, while French buffalos eat only grass. This gives a slightly different, gentler flavour profile.
This cheese never enters a fridge; it’s produced and eaten fresh. It’s also recommended to eat it within 48 hours of production. Since the texture, flavour, and nuances change once mozzarella enters the fridge, Julien’s not looking to sell it abroad at present.
How to Eat It
Don’t overcomplicate! Julien enjoys it simply with bread. No olive oil or seasoning is needed —just let the cheese do the talking.
Where Can I Find It?
It’s sold in Nanina’s dairy/mozzarella bar. And that’s not all that’s there —you’ll also find buffalo milk ricotta, scamorza, and Caciocavallo-style cheeses. They share their knowledge by running mozzarella-making workshops, and you can also watch their cheese production throughout the week. High-end restaurants such as the Michelin-star Septime use their cheese, as well as cheese shops such as Laurent Dubois. Just this month, they started supplying the newly opened Eataly grocery store in Paris. Do stop in and visit next time you’re in the City of Lights!
Nanina can be found on 24 bis Rue Basfroi in the 11th Arrondisement of France.