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Los Angeles getting crazy for Italian mozzarella

It is fashionable and relatively cheap. And it can be eaten every day

Los Angeles getting crazy for Italian mozzarella

Claudia Astarita


The Los Angeles Times describes it as a season of sun and mozzarella, as it seems that in 2013 Spring and Summer local restaurants are driving their clients crazy offering them different versions of the Italian soft and tasty milky white cheese.

Most of local chefs have decided to take advantage of their personal experience in Italy to offer new mozzarella dishes. The most classic for Summer is caprese, made of slices of mozzarella and basil leaves alternated to slices of ripe and perfumed red tomatoes. For those preferring pasta or hot plates in general, a mix of spaghetti, diced mozzarella and raw chopped tomato is definitely delicious. For a snack, a cup of bocconcini, bite-sized balls of mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil is usually the first choice. Gnocchi alla sorrentina (which means backed in the oven with tomato sauce and diced mozzarella) or pizza, as no matter what topping is chosen, the base is made of mozzarella and tomato sauce, are perfect for dinner.

However, this Summer Los Angeles bars and osterie are offering something more. Taking advantage of both imported and local varieties of mozzarella, they have added so many cheese recipes to their menus to convince both regular clients and tourists that it is possible to enjoy mozzarella every day without getting bored.

At the same time, as the milky Italian cheese has become more and more fashionable in L.A., many people are now interesting in tasting its "new" varieties on a regular basis. A few options are burrata (a mozzarella filled with cream) and tomatoes; bufala mozzarella with either anchovy or bottarga; scamorza, to be eaten fresh or smoked, usually in sandwiches, and classic mozzarella served with a selection of salumi (ham and salami in particular), grilled vegetables and pesto sauces.

There is another reason why mozzarella has become so famous in the United States: even in L.A. trendy bars, it is served at reasonable prices (among 15 and 30 dollars on average). To make the service even more Italian, local restaurants have recently started to offer a combination of cheese and wine. It can be red or white, according to the clients' preference, even though with mozzarella a glass of white usually tastes better.

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