MEET MIMMO DI STEFANO
Cheesemaker Mimmo Bruno, raised in Puglia Italy, was the first artisan in the United States to recreate Burrata, a cream-filled fresh mozzarella.
Today, he handcrafts the Italian delicacy at his family-owned plant, Di Stefano Cheese in Pomona, California.
Derived from the Italian word for butter, Burrata (pronounced boor-AH-tah) is known for its creamy, soft center and rich flavor.
Growing up in the Puglia region of Italy, Bruno remembers when the first local cheese maker introduced Burrata in the 1970s.
“It quickly became a regional favorite – everybody was soon trying to make it. But when I left Italy in 1986, Burrata was still very much a regional cheese – if you went 100 kilometers out of Puglia, no one knew what it was.”
Bruno got his start at a local factory in Italy when he was 11 years old, scrubbing the cheese vat and washing floors. Whenever he got the chance, he hovered around the veteran cheese makers, watching and listening, and soon learned the trade. At 12 years old, he made his first vat of fresh mozzarella. Soon he was earning 2,000 lire a week, equivalent to $1. The neighborhood cheese plant eventually became his after school destination, full-time summer job and “my home away from home.”
After his military duty in the Italian army, Bruno set out for the United States and started making cheese in California. Soon after, he founded Di Stefano Cheese Company which he named after his father and after his oldest son, Stefano.
Stefano Bruno’s interest in his father’s trade has captivated him since he was a small boy and he currently works full time at the plant alongside his dad, thus continuing the passion for artisan cheese making and tradition.
On special occasions Mimmo or Stefano will demonstrate to live audiences the process of making fresh mozzarella and Burrata cheese. From curd to final product, the mozzarella comes alive before their eyes from the father and son who do it best… and of course, tasting the final product is a must!
A Lifetime of Experience, Tradition, and Passion for Making Cheese.
Burrata originated from a small area of Apulia region. First produced around 1920 on the Bianchini farm in the town of Andria, (about 2/3 of the way up from Italy's heel to the spur of Apulia). In the 1950s, it became more widely available after a few of the local cheese factories - notably Chieppa - began producing it. It is generally suspected that factories were interested in it because it was a way to utilize the ritagli ("scraps" or "rags") of mozzarella.
Burrata is often referred to as the creamy cousin of mozzarella. This pure, sweet, and fresh cheese hides a delightful surprise of creamy burrata stracciatella that is wrapped inside its delicate mozzarella shell. Stracciatella only reveals itself once burrata is cut open.
Traditionally, burrata would be wrapped in the blades of the Asphodel leaf, a leaf native to Puligia Italy, (where Di Stefano owner, Mimmo Bruno is from.) This leaf was used to indicate the freshness of the cheese. When fresh, the blade would be green, after a few days, the leaf would dry up, indicating the burrata was no longer fresh. Thanks to pasteurizing and our fresh ingredients, Di Stefano burrata lasts much longer.
Our tribute to tradition is exemplified on our 8oz burrata, which is wrapped with what appears to be the Asphodel leaf. Our burrata is made daily at the Di Stefano Cheese plant utilizing fresh ingredients and traditional methods that define Di Stefano Burrata as simply the best!