Progressive Grocer

Grocerant February 2017

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17 SOLUTIONS FEBRUARY 2017 B urrata, which means "buttery" in Italian, lives up to its name with a rich taste and sumptuous texture, plus a bonus fun factor: The fresh Ital- ian-style cheese is made from a combination of mozzarella and cream that oozes out when the outside curd "shell" is cut open. "The joy of discovery that comes from breaking into a beautiful fresh piece of burrata cheese is something irresistible to someone who appreciates food, especially in a restaurant setting," says Sharon Olson, executive director of Chicago-based Culinary Visions, a food-focused insight and trend forecasting practice. Burrata is showing up on more restaurant menus and has become a darling among chefs, says Lydia Burns, senior manager of procurement for Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, which runs four neighborhood specialty shops in Chicago. "It's definitely a more artisanal product, but flavor-wise, it is very accessible," she says. "It's milky, and people who like mozzarella like burrata." Although its freshness means burrata doesn't last too long—imported burrata can have a three-day shelf life, while domestic varieties last up to 21 days—this "it" cheese can enhance products from appetizers and salads to main dishes and desserts. Burrata can serve as a more upscale or unique alternative to fresh cow's milk or buffalo mozzarella, for example. BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Green Bay, Wis., offers both a classic burrata and a truffle burra- ta, which originated from a customer request, according to marketing and public relations manager Jamie Wichlacz. "Fresh cheeses like burrata are appealing to consumers and chefs because [they] are ready to serve," she says, noting that it's easy to create an appetizer by presenting burrata on a plat- ter with fresh basil, tomatoes and slices of prosciutto, garnished with olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar. Wichlacz underscores burrata's delicacy, which can make it a challenging ingredient for foods presented in a hot food bar for several hours. But she says there are other applications appro- priate for grocerants, such as including the cheese as part of a salad meal kit for shoppers. Likewise, Olson notes that burrata works well on catering menus and can be a tasty option for made-to-order pizzeria-style pizza. "It is unique and deliciously satisfying but requires the hand of a skillful pizza maker," she advises. She adds that burrata can nicely complement other items sourced from supermarket de- partments. "Imported burrata served with fresh local produce is a perfect example of serving up the best of the world and the best local produce on the same plate," she says. G — Lynn Petrak Burrata works well on catering menus and for made-to-order pizzeria-style pizza. Cream of the crop BURRATA CHEESE Simple presentations highlight burrata's freshness and texture. Burrata can be an upscale alternative to other mozzarella cheeses.

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