Fresh Mozzarella from Federico Spatola Latticini

 A fresh ball of mozzarella from Federico Spatola Latticini

Recently, New York Food Journal had the opportunity to sample some fresh mozzarella from Federico Spatola Latticini, an excellent Ridgewood-based mozzarella producer. The current incarnation of the business has been around for about a decade, and they sell upwards of 5,000 lbs of cheese per week, mostly to caterers, pizzerias, and other restaurants in New York – including the Plaza Hotel.  (Check out this video, showing their mozzarella production facility.)

In addition to the standard ball of fresh mozzarella (or “mutz” as they say on Arthur Ave.), Spatola also trades in the more delicate bocconcini (shown below), smoked mutz, burrata, ricotta, and other varieties.

Fresh focaccia with melted bocconcini and cherry tomatoes

The fresh mutz ball and bocconcini are lightly salted – perhaps less so than most commercial varieties – resulting in a far cleaner, fresher taste than what people may be used to.

The ball had a firmer texture, and worked very well on its own or made into a caprese salad or sandwich. My favorite fresh mutz establishment has long been Astoria’s Dave & Tony Salumeria, and Spatola’s certainly held its own.

The bocconcini, was milkier, more spongy, and delicate, and was great melted on top of a fresh focaccia – with seasonal cherry tomatoes added for good measure (it is summer, after all).

In case you want to try your own, Joe Spatola, the founder’s nephew, has recently expanded the business to include home delivery to Manhattan, Astoria, and parts of Brooklyn. The cheese is reasonably priced at $8-10 per pound, depending on the type.

Here’s some more ideas for fresh mutz:
     – pair it with our marinated roasted red peppers and top with torn basil
     – cube it up and toss with warm pasta, fresh tomatoes, E.V.O.O., and herbs for a “pasta caprese”
     – top it with nothing but the best extra virgin olive oil you can find and a little black pepper
     – toss it with fresh corn, juicy tomatoes, and Chinese long beans or green beans for a summery salad

And for bocconcini:
     – marinate it in extra virgin olive oil, dried herbs, and chili flakes for 10 minutes and eat with toothpicks
     – skewer it together  with cherry tomatoes and serve at a party

Fresh bocconcini (left) along with a fresh mutz ball
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