I first tasted burrata a couple of years ago. A friend had ordered it as an appetizer at a local restaurant, and my cheese aficionado self could not wait to scoop up a bite. Not to be dramatic or anything, but my life has not been the same since. Burrata is now a staple in my spring and summer diet. I might as well have a line item for it in my budget.
Okay, what is burrata?
Burrata is a type of semi-soft, fresh Italian cheese, very similar to mozzarella. It’s made from cow or water buffalo milk, handspun by artisans in the Apulia region of southern Italy. “Burrata” translates to “buttery” in Italian, which is a sneak peek into what it tastes like: mild, creamy, smooth, and of course buttery. It’s decadent on its own, but it carries other flavors well, so there are myriad ways to enjoy it. But what sets burrata apart from its other Italian cousins is its texture.
On the outside, burrata looks a lot like a ball of mozzarella. In fact, it’s made from mozzarella. However, to make burrata, the mozzarella curd is stretched and formed into a little pouch, which is then filled with cream and fresh curds and sealed off. When the ball is sliced open, the curds spill out, ready to be scooped up by bread, crackers, fruit, or your spoon. The result is a delightful symphony of texture and flavor that will be an excellent addition to your spring and summer menus.
How to Serve and Eat Burrata
Burrata is best served at room temperature. Remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you intend to serve it. At this point, the curds are just soft enough to spill out with little to no urging when the ball is sliced. From there, you can dip bread, fruit, or veggies into it, or scoop and spread it onto your preferred vessel. But the possibilities don’t end there!
Here are some of my favorite ways to serve and eat burrata:
- Sprinkled with flaky salt, drizzled with good olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar, served with crusty bread
- The star of a seasonal cheese board with accompanying fruit, cured meat, and nuts
- Atop a bed of mixed greens with roasted veggies and vinaigrette dressing
- Spread across a pizza with salty prosciutto or ham and juicy pineapple (yes, I’m one of those people)
- On a toasted flatbread with fig jam, prosciutto, peaches, and arugula
- Split open over a bowl of warm pasta, with a sprinkle of herbs and grated parmesan
- Alongside fresh tomatoes, basil, and balsamic for a take on Caprese
- Layered atop mashed avocado on thick, seedy bread, with salt and olive oil
- Sandwiched between sourdough bread slices, slathered with pesto
However you decide to serve your burrata, the bottom line is to make sure it’s the star, and that its unique texture really gets to shine. Most importantly, since burrata is a fresh cheese, it’s best when consumed within 48 hours of purchase. If you must store a leftover burrata ball, cover it with water in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to five days. But really, leftover burrata shouldn’t be a problem.
Where to Find Burrata
Burrata is most popular in the warmer months of spring and summer; it usually starts appearing in stores in late March or early April. Its mild flavor and lighter texture make it ideal for warm weather snacking since it won’t weigh you down. I’ve always bought my burrata at my local cheesemonger, Bleu Fox Cheese Shop in Chattanooga. I jokingly call them my “burrata dealers” because they’re super dependable when it comes to burrata. Any specialty cheese shop or nice grocery store, however, should have burrata in stock this time of year. If you’re lucky enough to live near an Italian market, they’re sure to have it, too.
If you’ve eaten burrata before, then you probably relate to my love letter. If you have not yet tasted the rich, creamy, decadence of this Italian delight, I look forward to hearing about your first experience with it soon. One bite is all it takes to fall in love. Promise.
All photography by Kate Robertson.
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