As with our local mozzarellas which can be quite good in isolation, when placed in direct comparison all their flaws are immediately obvious. The main problem is that mozzarella and its sister cheeses are so delicate and time sensitive. As one of the speakers told us so clearly in a mozzarella masterclass, it has to be eaten fresh and begins to deteriorate within just a few hours of manufacture.
When you encounter a freshly made mozzarella it's a different beast - it's much looser and the flesh seems to weep milk but with our local cheese, the flesh is tight and stringy and that internal liquid has gone and it's all got to do the supply chain, refrigeration and the time it takes to get the product onto the shelves.
So when we heard that a Mozzarella laboratory had opened up here in Carlton, well, it was obvious we wouldn't be too long before we visited.
Entering this store is like having the golden ticket to visit Willy Wonka - countless varieties of bocconcini, mozzarella, burrata, provolone etc all made out the back - you can't get any fresher than this. There's lots of cheese to explore but I'm going to start with their burrata and serve it as I would in Italy.
I've kept it simple - there's no oil or vinegar, it doesn't need it, it certainly doesn't need salt or pepper. I've used two of its best friends - fresh basil and tomatoes - for variety and because they all have different tastes and textures I've used, black Russian, baby roma and golden teardrop tomatoes.
It does look like a regular mozzarella ball except for that distincive knot at the top - it's only when you cut it do you experience its hidden beauty.
It is filled with a mix of mozzarella threads and cream and its housed in a mozzarella case. To eat, scoop a mix of tomato and basil and cheese onto slices of good bread (I've used Olive Baguette) and you might just experience nirvana.