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Where To Get Locally-Made Burrata In California


Burrata/Flickr/ She Paused 4 Thought

Burrata is relatively difficult to come by, as cheeses go. Essentially a cream-infused mozzarella ball, burrata has an extremely short shelf life, lasting for only a couple days or so. Few places make it from scratch and when they do, it's made with cow milk instead of buffalo milk (the original ingredient). For a long time, the only way to get the fresh cheese was to import it from Italy, but then finally someone decided to produce it from scratch in the States and consumption of the delicacy has increased rather a lot since then. Eating burrata is simple: drizzle some olive oil on, sprinkle some pepper over it, and serve with fresh bread.

Vito Girardi was actually the man who introduced burrata to the United States. His factory is a humble operation tucked in an industrial area of South El Monte, producing more than 2,000 pounds of the treat daily. Girardi, who opened Gioia in 1992, comes from Apulia, the region of Italy that claims to have created burrata. His grandfather was one of the first makers of the cheese. You can pick up their cheese at various shops or directly from their factory; it sells for $6 a pound. 1605 Potrero Ave, South El Monte, CA 91733.

Distefano Cheese is located in Pomona and, like Gioia, opened in the early 1990s. Cool fact: within each bundle of burrata, they wrap in a single Asphodel leaf. The tradition comes from Italy. When fresh, the leaf would be green and after a few days, the leaf would dry up, which would indicate the burrata was no longer fresh. Burrata is sold in 2 ounce, 4 ounce, 8 ounce, and 1 pound sizes. 1485 E 3rd St, Pomona, CA 91766.

Established in 1987, Belfiore was one of first producers of Italian-style mozzarella. They pioneered hand-crafted fior di latte, or fresh mozzarella in water, in America. The Berkeley cheese factory won the prize for best burrata from the American Cheese Society in 2012. It's $4 for 8 ounces. All the cheese are certified kosher with no additives or preservatives. 2031-A Second Street, Berkeley, CA 94710.

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