The New York Times has an interesting profile Craig Ramini, Silicon Valley Entrepreneur turned Water Buffalo farmer and aspiring Mozzarella di Bufala cheesemaker:
Go Ahead, Milk My Day
Buffalo mozzarella from Italy is perhaps the most difficult cheese to replicate. Is the Silicon Valley consultant-turned-dairy-farmer named Craig Ramini in over his head?
Buffalo mozzarella is the Great White Whale of American cheesemaking: a dream so exotic and powerful that it drives otherwise sensible people into ruinous monomaniacal quests. Despite all the recent triumphs of our country’s foodie movement (heirloom-turkey-sausage saffron Popsicles; cardamom paprika mayonnaise foam), no one in the United States has, as of yet, figured out how to recreate precisely this relatively simple Old World delicacy — a food with essentially one ingredient (buffalo milk) that is made every day in Italy. Over the last 15 years, in fact, the attempt to make authentic buffalo mozzarella — to nail both its taste and texture — has destroyed businesses from Vermont to Los Angeles. It seems truly doomed. “A Polar wind blows through it,” Melville might have written about it, if he had been a food writer, “and birds of prey hover over it.”
Enter Craig Ramini, the latest American adventurer hellbent on making fresh buffalo mozzarella — one of the very few people in the United States currently brave or foolish enough to do so […] Ramini has spent three years getting over the most basic hurdles: assembling enough animals (he has a herd of 44) and coaxing milk out of them (he had to redesign his barn and stalls, and he’s still taking in only 60 gallons of milk a week — about a ninth of his goal) — and beginning the daunting process of turning that milk into perfectly formed cheese. There have been some disastrous moments and plenty of sleepless nights. The first few months’ worth of batches weren’t even close to being viable. So he hired two Italian cheese consultants to help guide him. Although he says the product is improving, he still hasn’t been able to get it right. When I visited him, he had yet to sell a single ball of mozzarella.
Read the full story here.
(Photo ©2012 New York Times)
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