Did you know Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese is made from Italian Water Buffalo?


Did you know Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese is made from Italian Water Buffalo?

Hi There! SO, what the heck is buffalo mozzarella cheese – or Mozzarella Di Bufala as the Italians would say? Where does it come from? Why is it so special? Why oh why does it taste so good, especially in Italy?! Those are questions I had after moving to Italy and learning how freaking delicious buffalo mozzarella cheese is!

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

I set out to investigate… and like always, when investigating, I drag my family along to learn something new with me. Being the adventurous person that I am, I didn’t want to go to some non-authentic place where they show you bags of mozzarella. I wanted information from the experts; I wanted to go where the locals bought their mozzarella!

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

The Vannulo Farm House

Who Makes Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese

I decided the Vannulo family, who have been in the Mozzarella Di Bufala business since 1988, was a good choice. They are known as the MVP’s of buffalo mozzarella cheese. They are also one of the only 100% organic mozzarella di bufala farms in the world. The in-the-know locals, and restaurant owners drive as much as an hour, from the gorgeous Amalfi Coast towns,  to get this buffalo mozzarella cheese. You even have to call in the morning to reserve cheese if you want some. It’s that good!

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

I called them up and asked if we could come to the farm and take a look around. They were so gracious and invited us to come on by. So, I packed everyone up in the car and off we went! Don’t they look thrilled?

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

Italian Water Buffalo

The first thing I really needed to know, being a Colorado girl surrounded by lots of buffalo, was why we didn’t make any of this cheese in Colorado? Why do I need to go to Italy for this quality cheese?  How did our big, American bison get to southern Italy?

Well, the first thing I learned was that buffalo mozzarella cheese was made from water buffalo, not bison. Yikes, am I feeling silly right now. Italian water buffalo at that. The origin of the Italian water buffalo is not 100% clear. Some think they came over from Sicily around year 1000 and were more than likely brought by the Arabs.  There are many thoughts on this, and most likely we will never know. What we do know is that they make some killer cheese!

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

Amber got a kiss

Authentic Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese

Next, I learned authentic Mozzarella Di Bufala is only produced in Italy. To be deemed authentic, it has to be made in the regions of Campania, Lazio, Apulia, or Molise. The buffalo mozzarella cheese from Campana, where we lived, has been deemed DOP and is protected under the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin. This DOP stamp lets people know that it is authentic.  It can only receive this stamp of approval when it is made from the traditional recipe in those specific areas; so that is why you don’t see mozzarella di bufala production popping up around the world.

Yes, other people can make it, but it won’t be authentic. Legally, the world traditional can only go on products granted this designation. So, when purchasing, always look for the DOP stamp.

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

The Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese Farm

We arrived at the farm and were immediately met and guided toward the stables. I’m not going to say I wanna die and come back as a water buffalo, but these buffalo live the life! They have a massage station, a bathing station, and their own cute beds. They are never milked until they feel ready. They actually walk to the milking machine, and the milk machine milks them without a human being. Oh, it’s a cool process!  Then, the buffalo can leave the milk machine, have some food, take a nap, or get a massage. The Vannulo family believes that happy buffalo make better and tastier milk. Obviously, they are doing something right because people drive for hours just to buy their cheese.

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

We also learned about the Italian water buffalo, and we were even able to pet them! They were surprisingly calm and ate right from our hands. Awww, I think I want one!

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

During our tour, we got to see how the cheese is made. The process is done on site and by master cheese Gods who have been trained in the special and sacred making of buffalo mozzarella cheese. The word “mozzarella” comes from the word mozzare, meaning to cut by hand.  So, every morning, they make fresh mozzarella, and we watched them do it right in front of our very own eyes.

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

We also learned that there is mozzarella cheese made with cow’s milk called fior di latte, but if you have had the real deal you can taste the difference immediately.  You know what they say… “Once you go buffalo…” Well, no. They don’t really say that, but you get my point.

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

Now for the good part – a private tasting of the Italian white gold! We got to eat some fresh mozzarella di bufala right from the kitchen. Oh, Mamma Mia! The cheese is formed into beautiful little balls, is so creamy, and melts right in your mouth. All you heard us saying as we stuffed as much mozzarella into our mouths was, “Ohhhh”, “Ahhh”, and “WOW.” It was close to a religious experience. If you’re going to taste buffalo mozzarella for the first time, it should be in Italy at a farm. Trust me on this!

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

There is a cute, little museum and leather shop on site that shows the history of the farm and sells handmade, buffalo leather goods.

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

Buying Fresh buffalo Mozzarella Cheese

Then there is the store – there are two sections: one that serves fresh yogurt and ice cream; and baby, if you never had buffalo vanilla yogurt, you are missing out! We ate all we could and then were flooded with about 50 people who had hopped off a tour bus; so, we bolted to the next building to buy the fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese to take home.  We were asked if we had reserved any cheese for purchase. Ummm, no? We need a reservation to buy cheese? Really? Then, locals started pulling up and picking up their cheese. We had to buy some!

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

Luckily for us, they had reserved us some cheese, unbeknownst to my family. Sometimes, we are some lucky ducks! We happily took home four bags of fresh Mozzarella Di Bufala Cheese. They know how far people drive, so they even package the cheese in a cooler for you to travel home with.

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

Waiting in line

I would tell you to look for it in your local store, but the Vannulo family does not sell their cheese in mass production nor do they export their foodgasmic cheese; they only produce for locals and the people of Italy.  You can purchase the real deal all over the world but from different farms, we found some Italian Mozzarella Di Bufala from a gourmet grocery shop online. <–Click the blue link to find some authentic buffalo mozzarella cheese. Now that you are hungry, check out our How to Dine out in Italy Guide Here! 

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

Got Some!

Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese Tour

Did you know buffalo mozzarella cheese is made from Italian water buffalo

We took this tour, and paired it with a half day in Paestum, Italy. Paestum is where the last and largest ancient greek ruins, left in the world outside of Greece. This tour is a private VIP tour of the organic Vannulo farm and a guided tour of the ancient sites. It was an amazing day! You can check out our tour here.  

There is also a much less expensive food tour, that can be taken to just do tasting, they have 3 different menu prices, and types of tasting.  I cannot guarantee you get to see the Vannulo Farm, as I have not done this tour personally – however it is much better priced.  Please compare prices for this tour here.

You can also see all things to do in the area  compare prices here.

Buffalo Mozzarealla cheese comes from Italian Water Buffalo

Can I help you with anything else in Italy ?

Flights to the Area?

The nearest airport is Naples International Airport. Compare flight prices here.


Need a Hotel

Campania is the region, and you could stay in Naples, the Almafi Coast area, Or Salerno.

Compare Hotel Prices here.

Rental Car

You could rent a car and drive to Paestum and the Vannulo mozzarella farm yourself.

Compare Price of Cars Here.

Want to learn some Italian?

Check out . Pimsleur Italian  click below for a free Italian Lesson. 

Pimsleur Italian


Don’t forget your Travel Insurance

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Have you ever tried real buffalo mozzarella cheese? Do you have any questions or funny stories on where you thought mozzarella came from? We would love to hear your thoughts; just drop a comment below! If you would love to follow our travels around the world as a professional basketball family please read our story HERE and subscribe to our blog (black triangle top right corner)

– Stacey




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  1. Pingback: An Incredible and Authentic Tiramisu Recipe from Italy

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  3. this sounds amazing!!! I absolutely love fresh mozzarella! I would die if I got four bags of fresh cheese!! Haha!! Sounds like such a fun day out and thanks for sharing on FlyAwayFriday!!
  4. Whaaaat! That looks like SO MUCH FUN! I had no idea that even existed! Mozzarella is my favorite cheese too, yum - I bet that was seriously so fresh! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this week!
  5. Reading about your odyssey with Buffalo Mozzarella had me saying 'cheese', many times over. The cheese looks divine and i can see all of you had a great time. I think getting fresh produce straight from the farm or dairy is an experience which is worthwhile, in the fast paced world of convenience good, these kind of experiences are becoming rarer and rarer.
  6. Wow, thanks for the tip! I had never heard of buffalo mozzarella, but Italians know their food, so I'm always up for a new delicacy!! Amazing that locals drive hours to get this specific cheese - we're heading through regional Italy later in the year, so I'll definitely add a visit to the farm onto our itinerary!
  7. Well the family sure looks happy at the end of the tour when the cheese gets tasted! I didn't know the buffalo had it so good - massages and everything! That must be why it's so good. We need our water buffalo to be happy so we can have happy cheese.
  8. OMG! Buffalo mozzarella and that too fresh! How lucky you are! I am reminded of my brief visit I made to one of the cheese making centers in Lucerne, The smell that floated around their was too good and I am reminded of it now reading your post.
  9. You are so lucky to do that! I absolutely adore buffalo mozzarella. When I had it in Italy, I could not believe how much better it was than the mozz I grew up on in New York. I would definitely want to visit this place.
  10. Buffalo mozzarella is so delicious! The history of how we started using buffalo to make mozzarella is interesting! Thanks for the info!
  11. This looks like so much fun!! I always love learning how things are made, and mozzarella is so delicious. I love how they take such good care of the buffalo and have massage stations for them :) I will have to try and plan this into our next Italy trip!
  12. Oh, yeah! Buffalo mozzarella is divine. I'm surprised at how many people don't know that the source of the milk is the reason for its name. I was in this part of the world a few years ago on an Italian road trip and really wanted to visit a farm. Looks like I really missed out.
  13. I like activities based on food, especially a single food, especially something dear to the heart, and I think you really hit it here with this tour. I've never been to a cheese maker anywhere, and I think it would make a brilliant day.
    • It was an amazing day we have also done Parmesan Reggiano Cheese Tour in Reggio Emilia that will be coming soon! :)
    • Thank you Sara it was an awesome day! We didn't know about the yogurt or ice until we visited either ~ It was amazing Best ice cream I have ever had!
  14. Massage machines for the buffalos? Haven't they got the life. I don't know if I have ever had buffalo mozzarella (I have eaten a lot of pizza in various countries :) ) but I want to try it.
    • Hi Rhonda thank you for reading - They really do have a wonderful life. They are treated so well it was nice to see. Probably not in most countries they don't use it and even it Italy you have to ask especially for Mozzarella di Bufula if you want it on on pizza and only some places do it. :) For sure you should try it!
  15. I remember the last time I was visiting friends in the south of Italy and had a lunch where buffalo mozzarella was the star of the menu. I didn't like it beforehand simply because I never had the chance to have it handmade and freshbbut since that day I'm in love with it!
    • HI Camila thank you for reading! Yes so true if you have never had the real thing it is a whole new experience ! We are in love with it too!
    • Well Awesome look us up and let us know if we can give you any tips on Italy. After living in Italy for a year we have a really good insight to the country! Thank you for reading !
  16. Ummm... must go here. I had no idea about any of this process and you made the cheese sounds sooo delicious. I am really sad I'm so far from Italy now!
  17. I enjoyed reading your post. I will never see mozzarella cheese the same way again after all that info you shared. :-)
  18. Looks like time well spent. Even the little one seems to have enjoyed it! I really want to try the vanilla ice cream! I must confess I'm addicted to vanilla and that one has got to be amazing.
  19. Wow very interesting to read your blog post and get to know more about buffalo mozzarella. I knew nothing about buffalo mozzarella until I read about it here, especially that the authentic buffalo mozzarella must be produced in certain regions in Italy. Really curious as to how the taste is like :)
    • This farm takes amazing care of the animals - they have a massage station, they are not forced to milk they milk when they feel ready they eat and sleep on their own schedule - and the fARM was super clean and after interacting with the buffalo you could say they had no fear of people. They have been loved on -
  20. Despite being a farmer when I was very young, this still looks like an interesting place to visit. Still not sure about being licked by the cowes tongues ;)
  21. An absolute great experience ! It was great to see and find out why Buffalo mozzarella tastes so good and how it's made. Tasting cheese and ice cream and petting buffalos were awesome !
  22. To be honest, I have tasted mozzarella only in the pizza. Your trip sounds really good! I like to taste local goodies straight from the source, and I am happy that you shared with us the meaning of the word mozzarella. Cool fact to know :)