Of Buffalo Mozzarella and the Kindness of Strangers
One of the reasons we went to Paestum, besides the incredible ruins, was to visit the birthplace of buffalo mozzarella and hopefully see how it’s made. The day before we’d attempted to visit Vannulo dairy and arrived in late afternoon only to discover there were no tours (sometimes, but only in the morning) and saw nary a buffalo. I had to console myself with some chocolate gelato made with buffalo milk (really good).
The next morning we set out on foot from our hotel to visit another local dairy, Masseria Lupata Barlotti. The walk was about half a mile along a two lane road with not much shoulder. We tromped though the long grass at the side of the road, past fallow fields, as cars whizzed by. About half way there, a woman in a very small car stopped and asked us, in Italian, where we were going. We told her “to the farm” and she motioned for us to get in. My Italian is minimal, but she made it clear it was not safe for us to be walking along the road. She dropped us at the driveway to the farm amid many “molto grazie”. My mother and I were surprised at her generosity, but not as surprised as when the exact same thing happened on our walk back to the hotel.
This time, we’d only walked about 30 feet when another tiny car pulled over and a different woman insisted that she give us a ride. We thanked her and got in. Again, she spoke no English but we figured out what she was saying, “You would do it for me.” I was stunned. And honestly I was not sure I would, back home in Los Angeles, where we never pick up hitchhikers, let alone stop and offer rides to strangers. She dropped us right in front of the hotel.
Fast forward three months later and I’m about 2 blocks from home when an older woman flags me down at a stop sign. She asks if I will give her a ride up the hill, a few blocks past my street. I hesitate, (this is an unusual request in my neighborhood and I don’t know her) and then I think back to the women who so kindly stopped for us in Paestum, unasked. I say “sure” and let her in, taking her uphill, past a curve dangerous for any pedestrian, to where she needs to go. Pay it forward.
How Buffalo Mozzarella is Made; Masseria Lupata Barlotti Dairy in Paestum Italy
Straight ahead at the entrance to Masseria Lupata Barlotti is a two story stone faced building. In the bottom, behind a series of French doors, is the area where the cheese is made. It did not seem as if traditional “tours” were given, but we were free to stand there in the open doors and watch the process as long as we liked.
Read the captions in the photos below to follow the process.
After watching the cheese being made, we walked up the driveway around the building to the back. There we found a little shop selling all the various buffalo milk products including smoked mozzarella and butter. We were each given a small bocconcini of smoked mozzarella to taste. It was good, but for me, too strong to be eaten plain and would have been much better melted into a pasta or pizza.
Masseria Lupata Barlotti-PAESTUM – V. PORTA MARINA 29, CAPACCIO (SA) T 0828 722002 E email@example.com
This could be connected to the larger Barlotti mozzarella farm, but is not the same from the looks of the web site.
For a photo of the elusive beasts go here; (in Italian)
That night, after an arduous journey back from visiting Agropoli, we did not feel like going far, so we simply walked back to Oasi where we’d had the incredible pizza with Buffalo mozzarella and zucchini flowers the day before. Tonight we had pastas; one with vegetables and pancetta, and the other, quite possibly with mozzarella we’d seen made only hours before.