This is not a dish. This is a discovery I made while visiting relatives in Italy.
We arrived at the cheese shop around 10:30 am. I have been told that this shop belongs to my family. We have a cheese shop in Italy? What a dream. We walk in and the shop is very small and quaint. A relative who I met the night before at a dinner greets us and shows us around his 10 ft by 30 ft store.
After about 5 minutes, he opens a door from behind the cash register and motions for us to come in. We do. To our surprise, we walk into a full on mozzorella cheese factory!
4 men manage the machines that are churning out hundreds of chucks of mozzorella every hour. I am told around 700 lbs of mozzorella is made every day and sold strictly in the Abruzzo region of Italy, nowhere else.
The four men grab the ready mozzorella chucks and, by hand, start rolling them, tying them into knots and braids, twisting them into shapes, and best of all, adding spices such as truffles and basil and oregano to the cheese. They take a giant chuck of mozzorella, spread it flat, and pour the ingredients over the cheese then fold the cheese over and over until it the spices are tightly rolled into the cheese. All the while, milk water is spewing everywhere. They keep the cheese on water to keep it fresh.
My relative is the owner and is very proud of his small operation. Coming from the USA this seems backwards in thinking. He says his cheese I known throughout Italy as being some of the best mozzorella cheese, however it is only available in Abruzzo because they make it all by hand and are not willing to scrap their traditional methods for growth. Most large cheese companies have moved to 100% machine manufacturing for growth, however my relative refuses to leave the hand rolled ways that he started with long ago.
We leave with pounds of cheese to take with us. I bring a few bags of cheese and a bottle of wine that I will give to my coworkers at the hostel I will work at in Croatia. It was a fascinating experience.