Cheese 101, The Mozzarella Class at Sul Verde
By Brigitta Wohlmuth
We eat it on pizza, in pastas, salads, even breaded and deep-fried. Phonetically it rolls off the tongue like a melodious aria and I imagine that most people enjoy saying the word “Mo-zza-rel-la” (in their best Italian accent), as much as they do eating it. But wait! There’s more fun still to be had with this beloved cheese. Did you know that it can easily be made from scratch with just some curds and a bowl of hot water? Or better yet, sit back with a glass of wine and take notes from the pros in a Mozzarella Demo Class led by the passionate Italians at Sul Verde.
“Where is that?” you ask. Well, the name gives a clue. Sul Verde is Italian for “on the green”, meaning you’ll find this fabulous restaurant overlooking the rolling emerald hills of Tucker’s Point golf course, located within the clubhouse.
Sul Verde specializes in Italian pub fare, and is famous for authentic anti-pasti, house-infused grappa and the most perfectly thin and crispy pizzas you’ll likely find in Bermuda. “They are made in the Neapolitan tradition of ‘Verace’ Pizza with a thin, crispy center and puffed outer crust, ” says Guido Brambilla, Rosewood Resort’s Executive Manager of Food and Beverage and connoisseur of all things gourmet. If you’re the type who needs to know the full background story of a dish before you eat it then ask for him, he’s like a walking, talking encyclopedia of gastronomy.
“A lot of culinary inventions happen by mistake,” he tells the class in a lecture on the history of mozzarella. Legend has it that when some cheese curds accidently fell into a pot of boiling water in a Naples cheese factory, that’s how the Italians first discovered that the curds become elastic in hot water, able to be stretched and kneaded into a moisture-rich, creamy mild cheese.
“Mozzarella di Buffalo, is so called because traditionally it is made with the milk of water buffalos which has a much higher fat concentration than cows milk,” Guido states, continuing to blow our minds with lesser known facts about the cheese. While he led us through a fascinating discourse about the culture and art of cheese making, Chef Maximo Villargra performed culinary magic, turning curdled milk into edible formaggio before our very eyes.
“You can do this at home,” Guido assured us, as we sat there in amazement while Chef Maximo stretched and molded the doughy substance into three different types of mozzarella. The best part was of course the tasting. They paired voluptuous balls of buffalo mozzarella with roasted local cherry tomatoes, a “deluxe mozzarella” known as Burrata (filled with fresh cream) was paired with salty anchovies and capers, and their Nodini (bite sized mozzarella knots) is best served with fried zucchini escabeche.
It was clear to see that the chefs at Sul Verde take no shortcuts to offer their guests a true taste of the Mediterranean. Whatever they can’t make themselves with fresh local ingredients they’ll import directly from Italy. So, while their house-made mozzarella could be deemed the main stars of Sul Verde’s anti-pasti bar, the supporting roles are given to three, heavenly olive oils- imported from the Italian regions of Sicily and Puglia.
The quality of these oils is so pure that even though they are intended for dipping, you may very well wish to slather them over your skin and hair. They are each made from a single variety of olive, says Guido who compares the pursuit for a good olive oil to the characteristics of wine tasting. “With these oils you also get the taste and notes of the area where the olives grow.” – Guido Brambilla
The Mozzarella Class is fantastic experience for any cheese aficianado, offered on Tuesdays and Saturdays, it is open to the general public as well as club members. Contact 441 298 4075 to book your attendance or to make a reservation for lunch or dinner at Sul Verde where you can experience all the products mentioned in this article, and more!