Cheese, Gromit! – a visit to the Mozzarella Company

The Mozzarella Company

The Mozzarella Company is based in Deep Ellum, Dallas and has been in business since 1982. Paula Lambert, the founder, had gone to Italy to learn Italian and when she got back to Dallas she wanted to create a business that would allow her maintain her ties with Italy. She was missing the Mozzarella that she had in Italy, so she started making it in Dallas, TX. Keep in mind this was well before artisanal cheese became popular in the US. This lady is a true trendsetter and an icon. Over the years her cheeses have won many awards and she supplies to many well known restaurants all over the US. You can read more about her here.

Paula Lambert with some of my favorite cheeses

I was fortunate enough to be sitting next to her at a cooking class I attended at Central Market recently. I was very impressed with her knowledge of food and ingredients and so when she invited me to come and visit her at work, I couldn’t turn it down.

Despite being a passionate consumer of cheese, I had little to no idea of what actually goes into making it. While I make Paneer on a regular basis, it really isn’t cheese, or is it? Paula set me straight. There are essentially two kinds of cheeses – ones that are made using acids to get the curds out (like Paneer ) and just about every other kind of cheese that we eat e.g. Cheddar, Gorgonzola etc. In the case of the latter, the process followed is roughly the following

1. Milk is warmed

2. A coagulation agent like rennet or vegetarian rennet added. This has the effect of turning milk into the consistency of jello. This is very different from the process in Paneer where curds and whey very clearly separate. In this case the whey needed to be pressed out of this jello-like substance.

3. The jello is cut into small pieces (using a frame with a mesh in it) and pressed. The whey comes out and what you are left with is curds.

4. These curds are flavored and pressed some more to get the consistency you want. This is cheese.

5. At this point, the paths diverge depending on the type of cheese being made. Blue cheese is covered with Penicillium Roqueforti to have it develop the characteristic blue veins, Mozzarella is stretched and rolled into balls, Cheddar (and other hard cheeses) are dipped in wax and stored for aging. You get the idea.

Cheeses aging

The Mozzarella Company makes many wonderful cheeses. I really enjoyed the Queso Oaxaca (a Mexican Mozzarella with lime and salt), the Mozzarella, some wonderful flavored goat cheese and a hard cheese with a ancho-chile rind. But there was one cheese in particular that stuck in my mind. It was a Queso Fresco with green chiles and epazote herbs. As Dora would say Delicioso!

Paula is a very busy person but she took the time to show me around and let me taste many of her wonderful cheeses. She was a very gracious host and I truly appreciate it. Thank you Paula!

NOTE: Some of the Mozzarella Company’s cheeses are available at Whole Foods and Central Market. Do try them if you get a chance.

A close up of some of the cheeses I liked the best

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Cheese, Gromit! – a visit to the Mozzarella Company

  1. Amy Aldrete

    I heard there is a good place to buy fresh milk here in Plano. Do you know where it is, and is it any cheaper than the milk at the store? I am also kind of worried about acid-rain getting on the grass (from the nuclear accidents in Japan), do you think that could be getting into our food supply? What is the best way to clean vegetables?

    • Amy
      Here you go
      1. I have seen a place in Plano that advertises Fresh Milk just past the intersection of Parker and Jupiter on the NW corner. You may want to check it out. I have no idea on the pricing. The milk will likely be unpasteurized and so you will need to heat it to be on the safe side.
      2. From what I heard and read, the probability of radiation making its way here is pretty remote. But that is just my take on it. I am not sure I understand it well enough.
      3. We normally wash vegetables thoroughly in running water a few times. Some of the leafy veggies (like Spinach) have mud on them and need a more diligent wash than others. We peel a lot of the vegetables we cook so that hopefully takes care of whatever was on the surface. Talking of veggies though I am often quite disappointed in the produce we get. It looks great but has almost no flavor. I think it is probably because most of what we eat is GM (genetically modified). Rant alert. I will be posting on this topic soon. Watch this space.

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