Vannella Cheese

Vannella Cheese - Treccine
I love cheese! And while it’s impossible to choose just one favourite, the stretched curd style has to come close, especially traditional buffalo mozzarella, with which I fell in love many years ago in southern Italy. Back in Australia, I occasionally splurged on an imported ball of Mozzarella di Bufala but, given the distance it had had to travel, it never quite lived up to the memory. I still remember my surprise the first time I tasted an Australian-made version that was as good as the ones I’d had in Italy; I was told it was made by an Italian family in Cairns, where dairy buffalo were being farmed. Turns out, that was my introduction to Puglian-born cheesemaker Vito Minoia and Vannella Cheese. Vito learnt the craft of hand-making stretched curd cheeses as a young man in Italy where he opened his first dairy, Caseificio Vannella, before moving to Cairns in 2004 with his wife Pina Vannella and their children Giuseppe and Anna. Vito’s traditional burrata, buffalo mozzarella and stracciatella quickly caught the attention of cheese lovers and chefs, and so the family moved their production to Marrickville in Sydney to be closer to their biggest market. In 2022 Vito celebrated 50 years as a cheesemaker!
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Cook With Vannella Cheese

I use Vannella cheeses in all sorts of dishes, sweet and savoury.

Scroll down to see some of my videos and recipes using Vannella buffalo mozzarella, burrata, Oaxaca cheese and more.

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Eggplant Parmigiana using Vannella Buffalo Mozzarella
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Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant Parmigiana is traditional to the area around Naples , famous for fresh Mozzarella di Buffala. In Australia, Vannella’s excellent buffalo mozzarella is my go-to in this delicious dish.

Turkish Künefe using Vannella Burrata
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Turkish Künefe

Chef Somer Sivrioğlu told me that the challenge making kanefeh outside Turkey is finding a suitable stretchy soft white cheese – luckily creamy Vannella burrata (or stracciatella) is ideal!

Cativias (Empanadas) using Vannella Oaxaca cheese
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Caribbean Cativias

Vannella’s take on Mexican Oaxaca cheese is perfect in these crunchy queso cativias, a type of empanada from the Dominican Republic.

Bruschetta Caprese - Mutti Cherry Tomatoes & Vannella Buffalo Bocconcini

Buffalo Mozzarella

Vanella's buffalo mozzarella transports me to Italy! With it's meltingly creamy interior and lactic tang it's perfect in salads, pastas and bakes.

Vannella Burrata with Tapenade

Burrata & Stracciatella

Burrata is a knotted pouch of cow's milk mozzarella with a centre of shredded mozzarella and cream. Decadent stracciatella is naked burrata!

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni - Mutti best canned tomatoes, Vannella ricotta and Barilla pasta


Literally meaning 'recooked', ricotta is a creamy fresh cheese made from whey, so also very healthy. Light, fresh and soft, it's ideal for sweet and savoury.

Pancetta-wrapped Grilled Mozarella with Vannella Nodini

The Rest

Stretched curd cheese comes in many shapes including knotted nodini. Scamorza, smoked or bianca, is perfect for melting and Oaxaca ideal for Mexican!

Meet Vito Minoia & His Family


How are stretched curd cheeses made?

Stretched curd cheeses begin like any other, with soured milk being set into curds and whey. The difference comes once the whey is drained off, when the curds are mixed with hot salted water and stretched, traditionally by hand, to form resilient strands of cheese. When the texture is stretchy enough, a section of cheese is shaped then torn or cut off and sealed in cold water.

Why is traditional mozzarella made from buffalo milk?

When Indian water buffalo were introduced as draft animals to the swampy plains near Naples around the 6th century AD, farmers discovered that their rich milk was perfect for making the local stretched curd cheeses and Mozzarella di Bufala was born.

How should fresh mozzarella be served?

To appreciate the delicate flavour of fresh mozzarella, take it out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before serving it; in Italy it’s typically stored at room temperature and eaten the day it’s made. It should also be torn into pieces rather than sliced, as the rougher surface area is better for soaking up dressings and sauces.

What shapes does fresh mozzarella come in?

Given its stretchy nature, fresh mozzarella can be formed into almost any shape, including nodini (knots), treccine (plaits), perline (pearls), ciliegine (cherries), bocconcini (literally ‘little mouthfuls’) and sfoglia (sheets).

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