Burrata, heirloom tomatoes and basil make a garden harvest a memorable milestone especially with a glass of the right juice…
…but first: for those curious about wine and food pairings click here for a word on wine and cheese>>> Otherwise just tuck into some Burrata...
From rags to riches
Much of our favorite summer fare is most loved for its simplicity -the fewer the ingredients the better. Such elemental cuisine stands head and shoulders above more complicated culinary arts but only so long as the ingredients express what it is they are; can you smell this peach from across the room and does it drip with flavor down your chin? Are these strawberries sweet scented and taste of tender well ripened fruit? So often our foods look the part but lack the substance. “Dash it all!” say gardens in Summer.
In this cornucopia of a season we’re reminded of what vegetables taste straight from the vine, what fruit can be when left to ripen fully on the branch and what tomatoes taste like which in a round about way brings us to a favorite cheese: Burrata. Named for its buttered qualities, this Pugliese cheese hails from the heel of Italy and is perhaps best described as a fresh mozzarella of sorts. Made from the ritagli (or rags) of Mozzarella scraps, Burrata is similar to cow’s milk Mozzarella, in that it begins the same way, but takes a turn for the sublime when it’s formed into a pouch that is then filled with the ritagli, topped with fresh cream, then tied up into a top knot, traditionally wrapped in asphodel leaves and then washed with a little whey.
Asphodel is a flowering perennial with leaves that dry out at the same rate as Burrata thereby revealing how fresh the cheese. Incidentally, in ancient Greek mythology, asphodel flowers wreathe the head of Persephone the queen of the underworld ever since that dark day when Hades abducted her from her mother Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Asphodel to this day remains a symbol of the underworld’s ties to the living with many plants gracing gravesites, tombs and cemeteries. How apropos that it's a natural wrapping over Burrata in that its leaves are a momento mori after a fashion depicting the brevity of Burrata and the transience of a perfectly ripened cheese en pointe or at peak flavor when Burrata is ripe for wine drinking.
When found on a cheese board Burrata doesn’t last long –often the first to disappear as turophiles and amateur cheese lovers alike cannot get enough of its layered textures, flavors, and wine friendly nature. Burrata is our late Summer obsession because our company garden is awash in fresh heirloom tomatoes dripping with flavor. Simply alternate thick slices of cheese and tomatoes, garnish with basil, drizzle with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt and coarsely cracked pepper to sink our teeth into what is certain to become a Summer tradition. Many wines suit this light repast ranging the gamut of easy drinking, lively reds from the nervy Sangiovese to the bright Cabernet Franc or Gamay in the case of reds or if the mood strikes you for white wine, why not enjoy the engaging and fragrant wines made from Garganega of Soave or the crisp and invigorating Greco di Tufo –another well kept secret of southern Italy.
Celebrate Summer by mixing and matching six or more bottles of those listed (and linked) above and save 15% entering promo code Burrata during checkout online. Offer runs through Wednesday, September 14th 2011 (incidentally a Fruit Day as it turns out). We’ll be raising a glass to your health, alla vostra salute!