Time to talk about the most popular cheese in America!

Mozzarella cheese is everywhere. It’s on pizzas, lasagnas, pastas, and salads. It even comes in string form that we eat as a snack. It is officially America’s favorite cheese, and that is why the team at The Big Cheezy has had so much fun integrating this delightful cheese into our menu. You’ll find it in our signature Big Cheezy sandwich as well as the Spicy Pie, The Don, and the Parm Bird.

Many people know that mozzarella cheese originated in Italy, but they don’t know it originally came from a water buffalo. That’s right, a water buffalo. Nowadays, mozzarella can be made from any type of milk, but only buffalo milk has the distinction of being protected under the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin scheme. In fact, this rare type of mozzarella may only be produced in certain parts of the regions of Campania, Lazio, Apulia, and Molise.

In today’s blog of Cheezy History, we are going to explore the history of mozzarella and trace its journey all the way to modern times. Read on!

Origin Theory Menu

Much like cheddar cheese, mozzarella has been around so long, nobody knows for absolutely sure how it came to be. They can all agree it comes from domesticated water buffalo in Italy, but that’s the end of the harmony. The only thing left to do in this situation is to decide which story you believe, and you have several to choose from.

The most common theory is that the Goths brought water buffalo to a certain spot in Italy as the Roman Empire came to an end. Unfortunately, the end of the Empire brought a breakout of malaria in the exact spot the Goths had brought buffalo, and it had to be abandoned. It remained empty until the 18th century, when people moved back into that one spot. They were happy to find that the buffalo hadn’t gone anywhere; they had just gone wild and developed into herds. The buffalo were domesticated, their milk was used as an alternative to cow’s milk, and the Compania Cheese industry was born.

If you don’t want to believe that theory, you have others to choose from:

  • You can believe that Arabs brought buffalo to the Normans in Sicily, who then introduced them to Italy.
  • You can also believe that Arabs introduced buffalo to Mesopotamia, and crusaders brought them to Italy after the Holy Wars.
  • You can also just listen to archaeologists who believe they have proof that the buffalo came from Italy and didn’t have to be introduced by Arabs, Normans, Goths, or crusaders in the first place.

It’s up to you!

Whatever you decide to believe, the fact is that buffalo were domesticated in Italy, and Italy is still the home of true, authentic mozzarella. They use buffalo milk because it is richer than cow’s milk, making it easier to produce a higher volume.

Expansion and Development into Modern Times

As with many other types of cheese, mozzarella was produced on farms for hundreds of years. There wasn’t a general process for guaranteeing quality; just the standards cheese makers enforced on themselves in order to benefit their customers.

Nowadays, the mozzarella industry is massive. The cheese is in high demand all over the western world, and it is produced accordingly. It is known for its white color, but it can actually be a bit yellow if the animal eats the right diet. It is a unique cheese, because it is generally high-moisture and can be consumed the day after it is made (unlike other cheeses that can’t be touched for months or years). Lower-moisture mozzarella cheese has been developed for things like pizza, because it has a much longer shelf life.

Let the team at The Big Cheezy show you just how wonderful mozzarella cheese can be. Visit our New Orleans and Kenner grilled cheese locations today!