The term “mozzarella” derives from the Italian verb “mozzare”, “to cut off”: the so-called “mozzatura” is in fact one of the final steps of the traditional mozzarella production, in which the cheesy paste is cut by hand to make smaller cheese balls. In old documents, this cheese is indeed simply referred to as “Mozza”. The term Mozzarella can be found for the first time in a cooking book written in 1570, a volume that belonged to a cook of the papal court, a man called Scappi. Probably, however, the famous cheese was already produced and consumed in Central-Southern Italy way before that date, in the 4th century B.C., during the time of the Greek colonization and the consequential introduction of buffalo breeding Initially, mozzarella was a less refined type of Provola, because of its low durability, which caused it to be consumed only in areas close to the dairy farms that produced it. From the 7th century A.D., however, thanks to the constant improvement of communication networks, mozzarella – made from buffalo or cow milk, or a mix of both – became increasingly popular.
Today, the numbers related to the consumption of mozzarella in Italy are equal to those of the Parmesan cheese.