Italian mozzarella: the most popular with consumers, worldwide

With 137,000 tons exported in 2022, Italian mozzarella remains one of the best-known and most appreciated cheeses in the world. There are several reasons for this: it is a versatile food, with a high nutritional profile, available in various formats. But not all mozzarellas are created equal: the ingredients, their origin and the processing methods affect the quality of the final product and make all the difference in the eyes of consumers.

Mozzarella fior di latte: Let’s start from the basics

Mozzarella fior di latte (or fiordilatte) is a fresh stretched curd cheese made from cow’s milk, originally from southern Italy.

Eaten both raw or cooked, on its own or as an ingredient in so many dishes (one above all, pizza), mozzarella fior di latte can boast the following distinctive properties:

  • firm texture, juicy and elastic;
  • no rind;
  • delicate, savory and slightly acidulous taste;
  • it melts and stretches into strings when heated.

The processing of mozzarella, La Cava’s dairy tradition

For our mozzarella we use only fresh cow’s milk from Sicilian farms. The selection of the best raw material is the starting point for a quality mozzarella. The processing method does the rest.

Traditional mozzarella fior di latte, like the one we make in our dairy, involves precise processing steps: pasteurization and coagulation of the milk, ripening, acidification (a crucial step for the quality of the final product), spinning and cutting.

In our dairy, the pasteurized milk is fermented through the action of live lactic ferments. Then, acidification takes place thanks to selected microorganisms that digest lactose and convert it into lactic acid. It is a 3-to-4-hour long process that proves crucial in giving the final product a special aromatic profile and a unique flavor.

At the end of this process, a mature curd is formed, i.e. a dough that is ready to be spun and retains its original microbial profile throughout processing. During the spinning stage, the curd is processed in hot water and shaped in long, thin strings. At this point the curd is ready to be cut (“mozzatura”, in Italian): it is broken by hand and shaped into a bite, knot, cherry or braid. This is a manual task in where all the skills of our master cheesemakers come into play. Finally, the mozzarellas are soaked in a solution of water, salt, and whey.

The final result of this process is a mozzarella fior di latte with a firm texture and a rich, balanced taste.

Why Italian mozzarella is so popular (even) abroad

As the president of Assolatte, Paolo Zanetti, recently stated,Mozzarella is the most exported Italian cheese: we send 137,000 tons of it abroad, about 35% of the annual production, and in the last two years, exports have increased by 28%.”

The main markets for Italian mozzarella are France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, and Spain. Exports grew by 18% in 2021 and 8.1% in 2022 (CLAL data).

Mozzarella is popular for at least three reasons:

  • its characteristic taste, delicate and fresh;
  • its versatility (it can be eaten alone or in combination with other ingredients, raw or cooked, and is available in various formats);
  • its nutritional profile and the high content of calcium and protein.

A reason in itself is the fact that mozzarella cheese is one of the main ingredients of pizza, one of the world’s most popular dishes.

According to TSG (Traditional Specialty Guaranteed) regulations, Neapolitan pizza must be made with buffalo milk mozzarella or mozzarella fior di latte. Mozzarella fior di latte, besides being ideal for pizza, has less moisture than buffalo mozzarella and ensures the authentic taste of the “real Neapolitan pizza.”

In this regard, our dairy offers a mozzarella specifically suitable for this preparation: our fior di latte for pizza.

When it comes to mozzarella, according to the data mentioned in a study published by Tetrapak, 77% of consumers is especially careful when buying. Three elements have shown to arouse the most curiosity and determine the choice of one product over another:

  • the place of production;
  • which and how many ingredients are used;
  • the place of origin of the ingredients.

Our mozzarella fior di latte is 100% Made in Italy. It has a clear, and most importantly, short ingredient list (pasteurized MILK, live lactic ferments, salt and rennet). The origin of the raw materials is guaranteed: the milk we use comes from Sicilian farms that are rigorously controlled and attentive to animal welfare. All these elements contribute to a traditional, high-quality mozzarella.

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