A friend of mine will be spending some time in central FL where I understand water buffalo are a reasonably common animal, and I'm wondering if anyone knows of cheesemakers in the area who use water buffalo milk.
As posted a couple of days ago, the only two places that may make mozzarella here are O'Stromboli on Corrine Drive at Old Winter Park Road and Harmoni Artisenal Market in College Park.
I don't know what kind of milk they are using.
I'd have to say that your impression of water buffalo everywhere probably isn't accurate -- I'm not aware of their widespread use in Central Florida at all.
There is only one commercial cheese maker that I am aware of in the area and that is a company over in South Brevard. The details escape me, but I probably have it in my files at work
There's an Italian place in South Beach called Fratelli la Bufula which apparently uses buffalo milk and such in their dishes and from what I can recall their purveyor was somewhere in Central FL. You could try giving them a call.
i think that i may have actually seen a couple of these in lake county (around round lake road and wolf branch) ?? they looked like real buffalo though.
i don't think there's a big cottage industry as of yet in making cheese though.
maybe see if you can contact this fellow:
Hugh L. Popenoe: Member at Large, cattle and water buffalo rancher in Alachua and Levy Counties and Professor of Soils, Agronomy, and Geography at the University of Florida. He was Founder and Director of the Florida Sea Grant College, chaired the administrative committee of the Florida Water Resources Research Center, served as Director of the UF Center for Aquatic Sciences, was Vice-President of the Florida State Horticultural Society and Vice-Chairman of the Gulf Universities Research Consortium. He is a Founder and currently President of the American Water Buffalo Association.
Other than this startling revelation of a producer of buffalo mozzerella, cheese is just about impossible to have made/make in FL- high temperatures and humidity nix both healthy milk-producing animals and the process of cheesemaking. I've been trying unsuccessfully to find local cheesemakers in FL for a project, and after much research and talk with artisanal distributors throughout the country I've given up.
The closest I'm aware of is Sweetgrass Dairy in Thomasville GA (near Tallahassee along the FL/GA border), which makes both goat and cow milk cheeses, though a little googling revealed a Winter Park Dairy in Winter Park, FL producing a raw cow milk bleu.