“I started Laverstoke Park Farm in 1996, with the aim of producing the best-tasting, healthiest food, without compromise, for my family and myself. Six years ago, we brought our first herd of water buffalo to live on our organic/biodynamic 2,500-acre farm in north Hampshire.
I originally went to see the buffalo just out of curiosity, since I believe that slower-growing, rare breeds produce healthier animals that also taste better; buffalo are the least developed bovine.
The more I learnt about buffalo, from their higher-protein milk and lower cholesterol meat, to their naturally curious and tactile nature, the more I knew that I wanted to have Asian water buffalo at the farm. In addition to Laverstoke Park’s original herd of 250 buffalo, we have acquired further herds in the UK and now have over 1,500 head of water buffalo.
We researched mozzarella and its production for approximately two years with Bob Palmer, who is a world authority on water buffalo. In fact, Bob was the first buffalo farmer in the UK prior to joining Laverstoke Park in 2003, when the farm purchased his herd. Bob serves on several committees at the Bi-annual World Water Buffalo Convention.
“Our mission was to discover what it takes to produce the best mozzarella.”
We went to Italy (where else?!) and visited eight different mozzarella producers and milking parlours. We subsequently replaced the farm’s traditional herringbone milking parlour with one that enables each buffalo to be milked in an individual stall.
I found that in tasting the fresh Italian mozzarella, we faced a dilemma. What we were experiencing there did not have the same taste or texture as the mozzarella eaten in England or most other places.
At the last facility we visited, we had some of the very best, freshest mozzarella boxed up, went straight to the airport and returned home. I immediately shared this “pride of Italy” with my wife as we had always enjoyed mozzarella with our family; she didn’t like it. The second day, she liked it a little more but on the third day, she really liked it. Mozzarella made for export is not the same as the ultra-fresh mozzarella that Italians make for their own consumption in southern Italy.
After further research and much debate, I decided to invest in the equipment that would produce mozzarella as we had experienced it in Italy.
I appointed Luca De Rosa, one of the most respected Italian mozzarella specialists, as a consultant to work with us over the next year and sent the farm’s Dairy Processing Manager to Italy to be trained and learn the art, skill and craft of producing the best mozzarella.
“It was very exciting to see the mozzarella facility come to life when we made our first batch, to see the balls of mozzarella being formed and popping out, just as we had seen in Italy. We are continuing to learn and to refine the mozzarella…”
This is the first serious buffalo mozzarella to be produced in the UK; nothing is added to lengthen the shelf life – it is simply made with buffalo milk fresh from the dairy. Almost zero food miles as well….
In fact, we believe our mozzarella has a distinct advantage over Italian mozzarella: in Italy, most buffalo are not free range and do not graze on open pastures. Our buffalo live outside (except for the coldest winter months), enjoying fresh air, sunshine and muddy wallowing pools. They are nourished by our pastures, which are planted with 31 different herbs, clovers and grasses.
“I hope you enjoy Laverstoke buffalo mozzarella as much as we do. Buon Appetito!” Jody Scheckter
Mozzarella is best eaten at room temperature
You may find Laverstoke’s buffalo mozzarella is firmer than the mozzarella you are accustomed to eating in the UK.
In Italy, for the first three days, fresh mozzarella is eaten completely naturally - simply cut in half and eat with your fingers!
When mozzarella is really fresh, you will experience a burst of freshness, the milk will ooze out… southern Italians say that if you don’t have a mess on your face, you are not eating mozzarella! This is what fresh mozzarella is really about. Only after four days is it eaten with tomato, fresh basil and olive oil.
Our Buffalo Mozzarella is now available to purchase from our Farm Shop