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Burrata season?

f
Fuffy Oct 19, 2013 12:40 AM

My two local cheese shops in Paris say they now (October) have no burrata because it is out of season yet the Italian stand at our Sunday market has it and pooh poohs the out of season idea. Could someone please tell me who is right? Thanks.

  1. PommeDeGuerre Oct 19, 2013 02:39 AM

    It's made from milk. Milk doesn't have a season. Perhaps some producers are persnickety about when they deign to make it or that the cows being milked have to be eating a certain "in season" grass, but there is no legitimate reason why it would have a season.

    8 Replies
    1. re: PommeDeGuerre
      f
      Fuffy Oct 19, 2013 08:00 AM

      But there are certain cheeses that are seasonable.

      1. re: Fuffy
        ttoommyy Oct 20, 2013 06:25 AM

        Wouldn't a " seasonable" cheese have to do with aging? Just guessing.
        Burrata is not an aged cheese. It is made fresh daily. I don't see how it could have a season.

        1. re: ttoommyy
          vinoroma Oct 20, 2013 07:17 AM

          Certain fresh cheeses have a season, as in when they are made, nothing to do with aging: like marzolino, a fresh goat cheese log, (traditionally) made only in march when the goats had their kids and their milk was especially fat-rich.
          But have never heard of and have not found anything in italian sources about seasonality of burrata...

          1. re: vinoroma
            b
            barberinibee Oct 20, 2013 09:32 AM

            I did think Locatelli had a point (see links in my other post) when he said summer heat was a problem for transporting burrata made in Puglia any great distance. However, he indicated he resumed importing it (to England) in the last weeks of October, which makes the claims of Fluffy's French vendors that it is out of season in October peculiar.

            1. re: barberinibee
              PommeDeGuerre Oct 22, 2013 02:48 AM

              This is 2013. Summer heat is only an issue if a producer chooses to let it be a problem.

            2. re: vinoroma
              PhilD Oct 25, 2013 04:33 PM

              Very true - cheese that uses fresh milk needs animals that are lactating. Sheep and goats tend to have clear breeding seasons and thus only "milk" from the spring through the summer, so fresh cheese can't be produced all year in cooler climate areas i.e. Europe. Cows are milked all year round as their breeding/lactation is managed so cows milk cheese, whilst still seasonal, is generally available throughout the year.

          2. re: Fuffy
            PommeDeGuerre Oct 22, 2013 02:52 AM

            By "seasonable" do you mean when THEY they think it should be consumed? Unless they're eating it, who cares what they think? if they want to lose the sale, let them.

            1. re: Fuffy
              jen kalb Oct 22, 2013 03:57 AM

              I think poster meant "seasonal"

          3. b
            barberinibee Oct 19, 2013 02:07 PM

            Possibly both, if the French vendors are hinky about the wrappers

            http://www.guffantiformaggi.com/en/chees/burrata-2/

            Although you might find this interesting, given the time frame in which the article was written.

            http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandsty...

            Have you asked your French vendors when they consider burrata "in season"?

            1. steve h. Oct 21, 2013 03:08 PM

              Ah, were the cows on vacation or the cheesemongers?

              1. minchilli Oct 22, 2013 01:14 AM

                Burrata definitely does not have a seaon. If anything, it would not be made in the hottest months, if there is not sufficient refrigeration, since the heavy cream used to make it would spoil too quickly. But burrata is a modern cheese, meant to be eaten fresh, and so that shouldn't really play a part.

                Your Italian stand is correct, it does not have a season.

                Actually, burrata is one of the few cheeses that - with skill - can be made anywhere you have access to good milk and heavy cream. So it can be made locally, in France, and doesn't have to be shipped up from Italy.

                www.ElizabethMInchilliInRome.com

                17 Replies
                1. re: minchilli
                  vinoroma Oct 22, 2013 10:34 AM

                  although legally you are right, i would not necessarily encourage it - yes, it doesn't have DOP status (which would make it illegal to make and name the same in France), but it still is a PAT, which only has legal implications within Italy.
                  I know, sometimes I am too traditionalist! ;)

                  1. re: vinoroma
                    minchilli Oct 23, 2013 12:33 AM

                    Really? Then you don't agree with making cow's milk mozzarella (fiore di latte) anywhere except for Italy? I can totally understand that Mozzarella di Buffala should only come from a specific region of Italy, but when it's cow milk...???

                    And then, there is the whole issue of bringing fresh buffalo milk to Rome, and then making mozzarella with it here (as they do at Eataly). Is that off limits too?

                    I think it starts to get very confusing when you're talking about certain cheeses and cheese styles. For instance there is a farmer outside of Orvieto who raises goats and who is making certain types of chevre very much in the style of certain French cheeses. Not traditionally Umbrian by any means, but local, organic and delicious. And better for the environment than shipping in French cheese. Or no?

                    1. re: minchilli
                      vinoroma Oct 23, 2013 09:14 AM

                      No no no, i wasn't clear - i am talking about the nomenclature! And i admit i am very traditional in that, i guess my wine education brings me there. Make any kind of cheese anywhere you want, but do not call it mozzarella, burrata, etc etc is my point....

                      1. re: vinoroma
                        a
                        allende Oct 23, 2013 09:27 AM

                        "Make any kind of cheese anywhere you want, but do not call it mozzarella, burrata, etc etc is my point...."

                        Don't understand your point. Where could you make mozzarella? Where couldn't you make mozzarella and call it mozzarella?

                        1. re: allende
                          vinoroma Oct 23, 2013 01:09 PM

                          I don't think it is different. Mozzarella di bufala is a dop product, coming from a specified region (southern lazio, campania), just like many others (parmiggiano reggiona, gorgonzola, taleggio, the various pecorinos (sardo, toscano, romano), etc etc). Dop products have eu-wide recognized origins - meaning, at least within the eu, you can't make a similar cheese outside of the designated origin and call it the same thing. I am not looking this up at the moment, so don't nail me down, but i think same applies to cheddar, gruyere and camembert. That producers in the usa do not care about this, i am aware, but at least in the eu, we have laws about it. Just like champagne, prosecco, chianti, barolo, amarone, etc etc. that allende, an avid participant in these forums and informed about italy, does not know this (my impression, correct me if it is not right, that is how i understood your comment) just shows how bad italy/eu is about explaining/implementing these ideas.
                          Burrata, as i said in my original comment, is not a dop product, just pat, so has only national implications and not even eu-wide, so i did mention it legally being ok, but in keeping with the traditions (and i admit herewith for a third time that i am a traditionalist), i would not welcome french cheesemakers producing the same cheese AND calling it burrata. Just as i do not welcome anyone anywhere produce a camembert-like cheese outside of its original region AND call it camembert.

                          If it makes my point easier to understand: you can produce pants using denim fabric anywhere, but can't call them Levis or Wrangler unless they are... You get the picture.

                        2. re: vinoroma
                          jen kalb Oct 23, 2013 09:31 AM

                          I think that horse has been out of the barn for a long time in the cheese world, consider cheddar, gruyere, "swiss" , camembert etc as examples. Mozzarella (cow's milk) is best made with fresh local milk, and the stores in brooklyn where I live make it by hand as their ancestors did in campania, bari, etc. since it is not limited to any locality in Italy but made artisanally in multiple regions, it is hard to see why the cheese made in this tradition cant be made anywhere under the generic name as long as the origin is clear. Likewise mozzarella di bufala (I think there may be regional DOP designations for bufala) as long as the origin is made clear. Sadly, I think that as with much in the food world the big industrial producers, if anyone will be the ones that try to restrict these naming conventions for their own commercial benefit so that it will only be the small local latterie and dairies that get screwed...

                          I think that is way different from calling a california sparkler or red champagne or chianti, for example.

                          1. re: jen kalb
                            a
                            allende Oct 23, 2013 11:00 AM

                            Exactly, that's why I asked the question of vinoroma re her statement

                            1. re: allende
                              a
                              allende Oct 23, 2013 04:11 PM

                              @vinoroma

                              Your impression of what I said was not correct. You did misunderstand. I live in Italy for much of the year and know the rules at least as well as you do.

                              You said "Make any kind of cheese anywhere you want, but do not call it mozzarella, burrata, etc etc is my point....".

                              That is not correct. Mozzarella can be and is made in any number of places. Mozzarella di bufala, as we both know, is DOP.

                              Burrata, as you know, can also be made in many places.

                              I, too, am a traditionalist. That is the reason IMO, that the wine that comes out of Tuscany today is in many cases, to be polite, "a mediocre product at best." Too many wineries are producing wines that have little or no terroir character. Additionally, the blend of grapes being used is not well thought out because the wine makers don't know how to blend those grapes. But, it is fashionable to blend those grapes, and the know nothing wine press eats it up... and you can charge a lot.

                              1. re: allende
                                vinoroma Oct 23, 2013 11:59 PM

                                Then it seems like we think the same way, i do not know why you opposed what i said... I am confused now!
                                When i wrote the sentence you quoted above, i made one mistake and omitted "di bufala" - which we seem to agree is a dop product, so it can't be made anywhere other than described in the dop, while still being called mozzarella di bufala. Can you make a cheese using bufala milk and otherwise same procedure in new jersey? Yes. Can you call it mozzarella di bufala? Am afraid yes, as it is outside of eu jurisdiction. Am i for it? No, definitely not.
                                Burrata has even less jurisdiction bcs it is a pat only but within italy, it does have regulations, you can't make it anywhere in italy.
                                We agree absolutely on what you say about tuscan wine.
                                So i do not understand why you objected earlier when i said "make the cheese anywhere you want but don't call it x" - we are both for protecting the traditions and nomenclature, right?

                                1. re: vinoroma
                                  a
                                  allende Oct 24, 2013 05:59 AM

                                  We are both for protecting the traditions and nomenclature. We agree on everything.

                                  Just wanted to make sure you corrected the dropping of "di bufala". That's it.

                                  Interesting that you agree on the Tuscan wine. We're just two against the hoards and they grow in numbers every day. Just look at what Antonio Galloni is doing at his new site and what he did at Parker. This emboldens the producers to do more stupid things... at higher and higher prices. Frightening.

                                  Best,

                                  allende

                                  1. re: allende
                                    b
                                    barberinibee Oct 24, 2013 12:19 PM

                                    So if the vendors in Paris are as interested as vinoroma and allende in protecting tradition and nomenclature, they aren't selling anything called "burrata" that isn't coming from Puglia.

                                    And if they have the same quality standards as Locatelli, they don't import it during the high heat months because they don't want to sell a damaged product. Even in 2013, the costs of shipping a product made with fresh cream in a way that keeps it at an optimal temp could mean pricing yourself right out of the market.

                                    Easier to wait, until Locatelli does, until temps have dropped. Since weather is unpredictable, maybe some cheese distributors and exporters-importers fix an autumn date (like Nov 1) to resume shipping to Northern Europe.

                                    Maybe Fluffy will return with more info.

                                    1. re: barberinibee
                                      b
                                      barberinibee Oct 24, 2013 02:34 PM

                                      Interesting info from a New York based food blog about selling burrata outside of Italy:

                                      "While it is increasingly made in the U.S., especially on the west coast where the added distance from Italy makes it tough to import while still fresh, most burrata sold in the U.S. is imported from Italy, especially from Puglia. U.S. food regulations prohibit imports of cheeses made with raw milk so the burrata we buy is made with pasteurized milk...

                                      "Because burrata is a fragile product that is costly to import, it is rare to find it in anything but a good cheese store. Still, it is a good idea to ask where it was made, when it was delivered, and when it must be eaten by. In New York I have purchased burrata not only from Zabar's but also Fairway and Eataly; it's also available at Whole Foods, Saxelby Cheesemongers, and Stinky Bklyn. Other good cheese shops will carry it only during the summer when the demand is higher, so you should always ask."

                                      http://www.thecitycook.com/cooking/ar...

                            2. re: jen kalb
                              b
                              bob96 Oct 24, 2013 11:30 PM

                              The barn's been empty for a while, Jen. And sometimes the disnction business is confusing. Pecorino Romano DOP can be made in Sardinia as well as in Lazio. Most Italian Americans have always assumed provolone to be a sourthern cheese, which it originally was, but most of what anyone eats in the US or Italy is from Lombardia and the Veneto, tho there are 2 provolone DOP in Campania now. And don't get me going on the many different meanings of provola and/or scamorza. Top quality fior di latte made in Brooklyn or Hoboken or West Haven, CT is still fior di latte. Industrial fior di latte made anywhere, even in Caserta, say, is still industrial fior di latte, and I'd rather have something fresh from Lioni than aa poor industrial DOP flown in from Naples. I'll always look first for something of quality made with local referents, preferably small-scale, but it's not always that simple. DOP, like DOC, controls many things but never guarantees quality or pleasure or appeal. It's up to consumers to decide all that for themselves, and if we enjoy a delicious sparkling wine but never care to call it "Cava", so be it.

                              1. re: bob96
                                vinoroma Oct 25, 2013 02:12 AM

                                I agree 100% that dop, doc etc are not guarantees for appeal or pleasure. But they are good means for achieving at least some grouping and direction in the maize.... For example if you do note that the sparkling you are enjoying is a cava, and say so next time you are standing in the store, it will help the wine person to know you enjoyed a classic method sparkling wine, and will refrain from suggesting you a prosecco, but instead a franciacorta, for example.

                                1. re: vinoroma
                                  b
                                  barberinibee Oct 25, 2013 04:47 AM

                                  I'm not against the steering through the maze (or maize if you are walking like an Egyptian) but am against dogma, especially when deployed against people trying to make an honest living selling a cheese people have come to know and love under its -- dare I say? -- traditional name.

                                  At the end of the day, there is always a limit to how much the flow of human language and human activity can be or should be controlled bureaucratically, whatever people's determination toward legislations, drones, reporting to the moderators or plain old bullying and shaming. While I value both tradition and the education that goes along with delineating and learning dop and doc, there are more important human reasons why some Pugliesi leave Puglia and end up making burrata just outside of Bologna or Manhattan and selling it to well-heeled folks who tasted burrata as part of their expensive meals in Roscioli in Rome (do those people get it from Puglia or do they make it themselves?).

                                  The Italian cloth used to make Mr. Levi's Wranglers was unique to Genova, and despite all that corporate branding, the "hordes" have persisted in calling them "blue jeans" -- just like people will persist in calling it burrata whatever the scolding. The proprietary terms Levis and Wranglers may protect profits, and ordinary people do use them interchangably (and incorrectly often), but they ended up disguising the origins and human history of the real material.

                                  Too heavy and rigid a hand in insisting on creating different nomenclature for what is essentially the exact same food but made in a different locale -- 20 kms, 2000 kms -- can end up adding little to the culture other than just a few more ugly neologisms, rather like the apocryphal "emulsified high fat offal tube" of Yes, Minister, instead of the straightforward British sausage.

                                2. re: bob96
                                  b
                                  barberinibee Oct 25, 2013 03:50 AM

                                  I thought this was all settled years ago in an episode of Yes, Minister, about the British Sausage

                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIYP1i...

                                  I just remain mildly curious as to why two Parisian cheesemongers apparently formed the belief that burrata isn't available in Paris during certain times of the year.

                                  1. re: barberinibee
                                    f
                                    Fuffy Oct 25, 2013 04:53 AM

                                    You are so right Barberinibee. I should have asked the shops first before Chowhound and I keep meaning to go in and ask next time I pass the shops. Will report when I succeed.

                      2. h
                        HillJ Oct 25, 2013 07:09 AM

                        What an interesting discussion!!

                        1. Ruth Lafler Oct 25, 2013 10:10 AM

                          My cheesemonger (in the US) used to only carry burrata during "tomato season." His thinking was that he could only afford to stock such a perishable product when there was high customer demand, which was in the summer.

                          I don't know if French cheesemongers feel the same way, whereas the Italian market stand is selling a product that people are specifically buying from them, making it less risky.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                            steve h. Oct 25, 2013 04:31 PM

                            Gioia, from LA (El Monte), makes the best burrata I have had in the States. Tasty stuff. If you are in the Bay Area, the Cowgirls (Ferry Plaza) carry the one-pound tubs. Check the label for the shipping date. I go for the next-day-delivery stuff. I mention this so folk can avoid the overnight FedEx charge.

                            1. re: steve h.
                              Ruth Lafler Oct 26, 2013 10:53 AM

                              Yeah, i think my guy sells Gioia. I think he carries it all year now but only on the weekend "off season."

                            2. re: Ruth Lafler
                              f
                              Fuffy Oct 25, 2013 09:25 PM

                              EXACTLY Ruth Lafler. I finally asked at one of the cheese shops why they had said the burrata is out of season. They told me that their supplier makes them order a large quantity which is too much for non summer months when there is little demand, so they don't order any at all...

                            3. PhilD Oct 25, 2013 04:27 PM

                              Maybe it's simply which supplier they use. The cheese stall in the market may be selling pretty standard "industrially produced" cheese which isn't seasonal. Your Paris cheese shop may only sell specialist artisan cheese from a manufacturer who only makes their cheese with milk from pasture fed cows/buffalo.

                              The summer milk from grazing stock, rather than silage or grain fed wintering stock, may have the flavor profile the producer wants for their cheese. It's perfectly OK for Burrata to be made all year round, but maybe the cognescenti prefer that which is made from the freshest tastiest summer milk - and that's the standard your Parisian cheese shop delivers.....?

                              Side note, I didn't really think milk was that seasonal until I bought a coffee machine and started making cappuccino. I found that the milk changes through the year as the protein/fat mix changes. That changes it's characteristics for stretching and texturing the milk for the coffee - I assume it's the same for cheese producers so the best of the best products are going to depend on the structure/flavour of the milk.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: PhilD
                                jen kalb Oct 25, 2013 05:42 PM

                                when we visited an Italian dairy farm in Emilia that produces for a parmigiano reggiano coop,a few years ago, we found that cows lived in big airy barns and were fed exactly the same mix all year round to maintain a consistent and desirable flavor profile.There will definitely be more variance with pastured animals (besides eating onion grass) including if they shift to some other fodder in the winter.

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