Cheese is the ultimate – it’s rich, creamy, delicious, and works perfectly well with my other passion, red wine. So this week, you can understand that I was crossing off a major bucket list item when I learnt how to make mozzarella with my bare hands.
On Saturday mornings, local Sydney institution and Italian food mecca Salt, Meats, Cheese runs a one-hour cheese making class. The mozza making lessons are the brainchild of the Salt, Meats, Cheese founders: two Italian foodies, Stefano De Blasi and Edoardo Perlo. The handsome pair begun their journey as hospitality guys, wholesaling delicious – and at the time, hard to find – Italian food to Australian restaurants and stores. After opening their own food barn, they created a mozzarella-making lab, where customers could drool on the window while watching the cheese being stretched and packaged. From there, they decided to go one step further, and let people make mozzarella for themselves.
"Mozzarella, as it turns out, is a fresh cheese. This means you can whip up a batch in just a few hours."
For those playing at home, I’ll bet you’re all wondering the same thing: how do you make cheese in an hour? If you’re anything like me, you would be assuming cheese takes years to mature, and only really hits its peak when it stinks like old shoes and is growing mould… wait, what’s wrong with this picture?
Mozzarella, as it turns out, is a fresh cheese. This means you can whip up a batch in just a few hours. The process was simple: boil milk, add drops of various natural substances to encourage the curdling process, et voila! You have the base from which your mozzarella is spawned.
Step two – and the final step – is to add boiling water to your lump of curdled milk and massage it together. By stretching it up and apart, you flatten the lumps and watch it transform into long, shiny, stringy cheese. It will take everything in your power at this point not to lean forward and take an enormous bite out of the melting cheese. Should you manage to resist, all that’s left to do is shape the cheese into glossy little bobbles, throw it in some chilled water, and stand back with a smug look on your face. Mate, you just made mozzarella.
"Shape the cheese into glossy little bobbles, throw it in some chilled water, and stand back with a smug look on your face. Mate, you just made mozzarella."
The surrounds of the Salt, Meats, Cheese space in Alexandria are a foodie’s dream: sky-high shelves stacked with delicious Italian olives, pickled vegetables, sauces, herbs, fresh cheeses and a smorgasbord of meats. The class was held right in the centre of the action, at a great old wooden table set out with bowls of ‘Here’s One I Prepared Earlier’ mozzarella mix. Oh, and the best part? We were all gifted with a DIY Mozzarella kit to take home. Watch out, world!
So, if you’re looking to try something new on a Saturday morning, why not learn to create something delicious? They run hen’s parties and team building days, so go ahead and bond over a bucket of melting mozzarella. Salt, Meats, Cheese is also holding new (mouth watering) classes offering you the chance to learn how to make homemade pasta and ravioli, the ‘ultimate burger’ workshop, pork and lamb butchery classes, and even ‘Cucina Regionale’ – Italian region specific cooking classes.
But at the end of the day, I reckon it’s all about the cheese.