I recently got to take a behind the scenes tour at Angelo and Franco’s cheese factory. The visit was coordinated by Christina of Christina’s Cucina. There were six of us blogger gals, ready to take on some mozzarella fun. The four others included: Valerie of Mama Likes To Cook, Jeanne of The Jolly Tomato, Dana of Foodie Goes Healthy, and Vickie of Culinary Vixen.
The Hawthorne based company is run by Angelo Tartaglia and Franco Russo, “The Mozzarella Guys”, two childhood friends that teamed up to bring you some of the best quality mozzarellas around. “Import the cheese makers, not the cheese!” is their motto. These imported cheese makers derive from Bagnoli Irpino, in the south of Italy.
As a third generation mozzarella guru, Franco has been immersed in the world of mozzarella since he was a little boy, just four years old. Like, he’s been living and breathing mozzarella his entire life! Angelo, with his business sense, leads the company to thrive.
Upon arriving at the factory, we were disappointed to discover that we had missed the cheese making part of the tour. Bummer! It would have been fun to watch the cheese making action. Nonetheless, it was impressive to take a look around.
We were each handed blue hair caps before stepping inside mozzarella land. The floors were wet and green, making me glad I didn’t wear spiky high heels (like who would wear spiky high heels on a walking tour anyway?!) that’d make clumsy me more likely to slip and fall. The factory smelled of fresh, curdy, creamy, rich goodness. I was immediately craving some cheese. It was before lunch and all I could think about throughout the tour was the tasting part that would happen at the end.
The tour was brief and informative. Our tour guide, Alessandro, was knowledgeable in explaining about everything from the cheese makery to sharing about the company story and answering any questions.
This here is coagulation going on. It’s so white and creamy looking. Don’t you just want to dive right into that?
High tech machinery making mozzarella dreams coming true. They use equipment from Italy, incorporating Italian methods, using local and natural products.
Forming balls, big and small. I’ll take them all!
The tour continued with explanations about yada yada yada…..but honestly, my stomach was starting to roar and I was just waiting to try some of this cheese I just learned so much about.
On to the best part of the tour that I had been anticipating on from the start!
The first one I dipped my plastic fork into was the wheel of Ricotta. My mind soon went into a frenzy of imagining all the things I can do with this Ricotta. But at the moment, simply spooning (or forking) it into my mouth was good enough. I’d have to say, it was probably my favorite.
Noises of foodgasms proceeded.
“It’s so rich and creamy…mmmm!”
“This is so good!”
Mozzarella di Bufala had my eyes rolling back. I loved the fresh, soft, creamy quality of it.
Being that I was still starving, I (we all) kept digging in, almost making it a “cheese sampling lunch”.
We each got a gift bag of cheese to take home.
I don’t even know what I want to do with these. I thought about making some kind of dessert with the Ricotta, but I am guilty of being happy just spooning it into my mouth by itself. Before I know it or even get around to making something with it, it’ll probably be all gone from all the spooning.
I already finished the Burrata, from mostly spooning, as well (like a savage).
You can find Angelo and Franco products at your local Whole Foods, Costco, and Vons.
Here is a footage of cheese action and a chat with Angelo and Franco, with Whole Foods Market.
Side note: when I see a company name of two first names, it always makes me wonder how they decided whose name comes first. Flipped a coin? Lost a bet? Blame it on my having grown up watching I Love Lucy reruns. Remember that episode when Lucy and Ethyl become business partners and Lucy wants to call it Lucy and Ethyl’s dress shop and Ethyl wants to call it Ethyl and Lucy’s dress shop?