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Il Casaro means the ‘cheese maker’ in Italian. At the tender age of 12, Massimiliano De Caro started making cheese. Growing up in Gioia del Colle, Italy, where the cow is king for mozzarella, he worked part time for a cheese maker learning his craft and now has more than 25 years of experience. It is a real treat for us to have his cheese in our delis.

Based in Wairua Valley, Glenfield, Massimiliano combines traditional Italian cheese making skills with innovative twists inspired by his love of New Zealand. We have certainly embraced it. He has walked away year after year with many awards at the New Zealand Champion’s of Cheese awards.

Working with cow’s milk, Massimiliano feels it offers numerous benefits. Massimiliano says in areas like Naples, buffalo are close to mountain streams and it makes a difference to the flavour of milk.

But in New Zealand they are fed on the same pasture as cows resulting in watery milk, which is not ideal for mozzarella production. Using cow has also afforded him enough raw product to make volume which is important for constant supply when you are selling to some of Auckland’s top restaurants and supplying Farro Fresh.

The fat content of cow’s mozzarella is only 15 per cent versus up to 48 per cent in buffalo so is a healthier option for those watching their fat intake. We share his opinion that mozzarella doesn’t need much more than salt, pepper and good extra virgin olive oil and when it has created with as much care and attention as he gives to each and every ball of mozzarella. We can certainly taste the difference.

In the deli at Farro Fresh you are able to choose from mozzarella, bocconcini, ricotta, mascarpone along with two very special treats for us to enjoy –burrata and stracciatella.

Burrata is a cream-filled mozzarella ball-yes –that’s right cream filled! Break that beautiful outer skin and out oozes the freshest cream ever. Freshness does play a major part in this rather unique product that originates in the South of Italy and created quite recently in the early 1900’s. All that ooze is just the thing over pizza or pasta but we do also love it in winter over roasted and stewed fruits as a dessert.

Stracciatella means ‘a little shred’ or ‘torn apart’ and is in fact used to describe a look or technique in Italian food but is also the name of a soft stretched curd in thin shreds moistened by fresh cream. It is the same deliciousness that goes inside the burrata but in this case not having to tear that ball of mozzarella-just go straight in! As a topping to bright and simple flavours and seen a lot of late in some very high end and exciting restaurants in New York it doesn’t have to be hard – think borlotti beans and roasted pork, roasted vegetables, to finish a carbonara! It isn’t a dish for those who are concerned about fat, but man is it good!