The Many Ways of Mozzarella

Luciano Pignataro (May 13, 2016)
Le Strade della Mozzarella (LSDM) is one of the first Italian food festivals and the one dedicated specifically to mozzarella. It is held annually in the ancient city of Paestum, south of Naples, the land of mozzarella di bufala. And now it is going international: it has established editions in Paris, Geneva and London. This coming May LSDM will be in New York—say the two founders, Barbara Guerra and Alberto Sapere.

Barbara Guerra and Albert Sapere are two young entrepreneurs from the ancient city of Paestum, the land of mozzarella di bufala. Nine years ago they decided to create an international conference in honor of the product. Le Strade di Mozzarella became the one veritable international cuisine conference held in the south, among the first in Italy. For this year’s conference, we got a chance to talk with the two founders.

When did it occur to you to hold an international conference focused exclusively on mozzarella di bufala?

Barbara Guerra: “The first ‘Le Strade della Mozzarella’ event took place in 2008. In the eight years since, it has grown exponentially. Now it has transformed into a bona fide conference of auteur cooking. A lot of work has gone into interrogating the merits of the product and the riches of its origins. 

Various producers have answered the call, people who place great stock in making quality goods, following a scrupulous manufacturing process, constantly striving to do better with a clear drive to preserve this incredible product and the land it comes from.”

What can we expect at the 2016 conference? Anything new?

Alberto Sapere: “Over the last two years we’ve begun to look abroad. Last year we were in Paris and London. This year we’ll be in Paris again and – exciting news – we’ll cross the ocean for the first time, stopping in New York on May 17th and 18th. The project is evolving, and we’ll be turning our attention toward the entire food/farming system. 

For us, bufala mozzarella and the animal that produces it are symbols of Italy’s uniqueness and biodiversity and especially the added value of our artisans, whom we feel compelled to introduce to the whole world.

Another “added value” this year is the conference’s expanding “menu”; in New York you will talk about mozzarella di bufala as well as Pasta di Gragnano, Pizza Napoletana, extra virgin olive oil, Mediterranean fish and quality produce.

“We’re ready to take this crucial step,” concludes Guerra, “and bufala will remain key to our discussions of territory, thanks to the interpretative powers of great cooks and the most famous pizza chefs, and directly involve those who work in New York.”

May 2016: Reinterpreting Mozzarella in New York

May 17: 

Showroom Pentole Agnelli

126 5th Avenue

An afternoon meeting dedicated to chefs with tastings of Italian products and cooking demos.

Some Chefs involved: 
Pasquale e Gaetano Torrente from Italy
Fortunato Nicotra chef Felidia Restaurant NY
Massimo Bebber chef Sirio Restaurant NY

May 18: 

Neapolitan Express

232 East 111 Street

An afternoon meeting dedicated to chefs with tastings of Italian products and cooking demos.

Some Chefs involved:
Pasquale e Gaetano Torrente from Italy
Fortunato Nicotra chef Felidia Restaurant NY
Massimo Bebber chef Sirio Restaurant NY

Loosely translated as “the many streets of mozzarella,’’ Le Strade della Mozzarella is held every year in Paestum, one of the main production areas of mozzarella di bufala. Since 2011 it has been involving Michelin starred Italian and international chefs coming from all over the world, pizza and pastry-chefs, food craftsmen and producers to experiment with mozzarella and other buffalo milk based products and to promote the authentic Italian food culture. 

They meet to honor the “white pearl”, its texture and history. Last year for the first time LSDM went abroad, with a European tour bringing the best Italian chefs and products in three main cities. Paris - November 2014 to Carrousel Du Louvre, Geneva - February 2015 to Four Season Hotel de Bergues, London - February 2015 to Baglioni Hotel.

Now LSDM is launching a two-day event in New York. It will involve famous chefs and pizza makers, and important brands of the Made in Italy Food&Wine industry. They will showcase their top products, offering tastings, matchings and cooking demos where mozzarella will go along with some of Italy’s Food&Wine best products and brands. 

Two days of meetings, discussions, contaminations, reinterpretations of an Italian symbol – Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania PDO, a unique product– all over the world: Pizza, San Marzano tomatoes, Extra virgin olive oil, Pasta di Gragnano. Their goal is to promote the awareness of Italian typical and local quality products, and to foster a mutual understanding between producers, chefs, and conscious and curious consumers.

About Luciano Pignataro:
a journalist for Naples’ Il Mattino—the leading newspaper in Southern Italy—has spent the last three decades writing about agriculture and enogastronomy. His is the longest running column on wine in an Italian paper. He is the representative of two southern regions for Slow Wine, Slow Food’s wine guide, and head of the Southern branch of the Guida Ristoranti Espresso. His blog, now one of the most frequented in Italy features reviews of wine, restaurants, pizzerias, pastry shops and cheeses. He has published many guides to wine and books on Neapolitan cuisine.

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