Know Your Cheese
Cheese-maker and co-owner of Casa Motta, Alessandro Motta was lactose intolerant as a child, hard to imagine for a man who has as much passion (and talent) for buffalo mozzarella as he does. Alessandro (who outgrew his allergy) moved to Australia with his family when he was 12 years old. Overcome by the nostalgia of Rome, he embarked on replicating his favourite cheese.
It took seven years to perfect, through years of home cheese making and a trip to the Convent of Valle Chiara in the Roman countryside, where he learnt how the nuns handcrafted their buffalo mozzarella, from farm to table.
While working for Olympus Cheese in 2012, Alessandro entered the Home Cheese Maker Awards. And he won gold for his buffalo mozzarella. Owners Michael, Desiree and Emmanuel Gavriel were so impressed they decided to invest in his talent and Casa Motta was born.
He sources the milk for his cheese from the Thompson farm, near Maleny. Mal and Margaret Thompson are the owners and Alessandro speaks fondly of them:
“The farm has a very wholesome feel about it so much so that the owners live on the farm and milk their own buffaloes. They live their life the old fashioned way. They have quite a small herd of buffaloes, about 30, and each makes about 7 litres of milk a day. The buffaloes are the size of a cow, they eat and drink as much as a normal dairy cow however produce only 1/3 of the milk. That is the reason why their milk is so rich in protein and fat and why the cheese tastes amazing. It is thanks to the properties of the milk from this special animal that gives the cheese those great organoleptic properties.
“The buffalo were originally brought from Darwin and later crossed with an Italian bull to give the milk the same properties as those found in Italy. That is the reason why my mozzarella will taste just as good, if not better than the Italian buffalo mozzarella. Moreover the buffaloes are left free to graze so that they can produce a great tasting milk everyday thanks to the fresh grass that is found daily on the farm.”
When talking to Alessandro about his cheese, you get a sense of real emotion and passion behind the process. So I really wanted to know, what is his favourite food memory of his beloved cheese? His answer… “The caprese salad! Buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes, basil, olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and a dash of pepper.” And for Winter-time, “a steamy mozzarella in Carrozza” – deep fried mozzarella served as a side dish.
There’s a wonderful enthusiasm that radiates from Alessandro, equal parts driven and dreamer… as all farmers, producers and providores should be…
“For me to know that my product is stocked in the kitchens of Brisbane is a great achievement. It is like for Leonardo Da Vinci to know that the Mona Lisa is displayed at the Louvre everyday in Paris!!!!”
You can find Casa Motta buffalo mozzarella in our fridges and on our menu at Plenty.