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Miracle Curd

May 17, 2000|RUSS PARSONS

Southern California's Italian cowboy is back on the range. Virgilio Ciccone, who began building his own herd of water buffalo in a Norwalk dairy to make true mozzarella di bufala, sold his old brand Italcheese and retired for a while. But now you can find his moist, incredibly flavorful fresh cheese again, packaged under the Bubalus Bubalis label (that's the Latin name for water buffalo). It's even better than before, hand-shaped in the traditional bound curd shape. Ciccone's herd is up to 100 cows, and he has the capability to produce 1,000 pounds of mozzarella a week. That should hold us for a while.

Bubalus Bubalis fresh mozzarella di bufala is available at some Ralphs, Bristol Farms and Whole Foods stores in 1/4- and 1/2-pound balls and soon in 2-ounce bocconcini. Prices are about $4 for the 1/4-pound balls and $6 for the 1/2-pound balls. More stores will be added soon.

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