Who Invented Burrata
Somewhere around 1920 in the town of Andria, a member of the Bianchini family figured out how to repurpose the curds, and burrata was born. It was a local product, premium priced, and remained the delight of the townspeople only for some thirty years.
In the 1950s, some of the local cheese factories began to produce burrata, and more people discovered its charms. Only in recent years, thanks to more economical overnighting of refrigerated products, did we find it in New York City’s finest cheese shops.
It was love at first bite.
When we first wrote about burrata seven years ago it was hard to come by, made only in Puglia and flown to the U.S. The limited amount that was imported went straight to top cheese stores; the minute it appeared on store shelves, it was snatched up by burrata lovers on the prowl. (We knew what day of the week the plane set down.)
But that’s old news. Since then, American cheese makers have been making burrata, and much of it is just as delicious and creamy as the Apulian product.
Burrata works with sweet or savory pairings. In addition to fruit (figs, pears…any fruit, really), serve it as a first course, cheese course, light lunch or snack:
With crusty bread and tomatoes
In a “deluxe” Caprese salad
With a salad garnished with beets and toasted pecans or walnuts
Once, at the end of a trade show, we were given several burratas to take home. We used three of them to top a pizza: a memorable luxury.
For breakfast the next day, we married the burrata with pan-fried slices of herbed polenta and sundried tomatoes, but it could just as easily have been fruit and honey.
The memories still resonate happily, whenever we pass a cheese case.