Friday, September 17, 2010

Queen of cities; queen of cheeses

If ever you were in doubt that Melbourne is the queen of cities, you need consider only this: it's possible to return from two weeks in Italy when you ate burrata mozzarella every second day, and were utterly ravished by its soft, creamy clouds and twists, then come home and on one day be offered fresh buffalo mozzarella at The European for lunch, but turn it down, because at home you have a tub of fresh burrata you bought the day before, at La Latteria, a "mozzarella laboratory", and milk, yoghurt and cheese shop that is literally on your way home. This place makes burrata and other varieties of mozzarella fresh daily on the premises in Carlton, from buffalo milk from Queensland and Mildura. I bought crumbed bocconcini, which we had last night, a tub of yoghurt cheese with chilli and mint, and a tub of two big balls of burrata. I can't wait to go back and try their cream; and their other cheeses. It's even tempting to think about buying milk there and recycling the bottles...

Paul is away tonight, and Joel is in Italy on his school trip (ahem), so I treated myself on my own: a big plate of fresh spinach, shaved avocado, a Roma tomato, salt, fresh pepper, green olive oil, and lemon juice. I then took the soft white ball of burrata — about the size of a cricket ball — out of its tub and sat it in the middle of the plate. It sat there, gleaming, wet, and shimmering. Then mustering my courage, I poked at it with the tip of my knife, and as the woman in the shop promised, the soft creamy insides spilled out, and I lifted off the outside skin. And the finishing touch? The balsamic glaze, which I used to write crazy scripts of sweet, dark caramel lines and hieroglyphs across the plate. I took myself off to the couch, and demolished the lot. It was just as well no one was there to see me eat this: it would not have been a very edifying sight.

But I'm sure it's on the strength of this feast that I wrote two brilliant sentences of Chapter Seven tonight.

4 comments:

Jeffrey J. Cohen said...

I do not believe I have ever been so hungry from reading a blog! What a feast. It makes me look forward to Melbourne EVEN MORE.

Emily said...

Wish I could drive to Melbourne tomorrow. Friends in Melbourne keep telling me what they have bought there - apparently the cream is extra delicious.

Perhaps next week! Not only this newish shop but also my favorite charcuterie; the best butcher in Melbourne; a shop devoted to all things spice; Tiamo's spaghetti and bread to sop the sauce with; a visit to the greengrocer; and last of all - an hour to browse in Readings.

Hannah Kilpatrick said...

Oh, I do miss Melbourne. Especially the food. For so much of the year here it's very difficult to get good fresh food that hasn't come from California or farther south. And that, of course, leads to the culture of just buying everything from the supermarket and assuming it will all be the same all year around, so there's less demand for good food even in season.

(Also, Melbourne coffee, how I miss thee.)

Alison said...

Ooh, I'm in Italy right now, and had my first burrata mozzarella ever, at a cicheti place in Venice - delicious! I can't tell you how thrilled I am to learn that there is a place in melb to buy burrata (and all those other good things you mention). And it's on Elgin St! I can't believe it - also on my way home!