2944 Elm St.
Try: Prosciutto Mozzarella Roll
I spent my Memorial Day just like everybody else: First I woke up and kissed the soil, high-fived my freedom and gave big ups to all the soldiers past and present who have fought to keep this country so great that I can make Dallas the fattest city in the nation if I please. After that, I bought a shit ton of American-made (even better, Texas-made) fancy cheeses.
Founded in 1982, The Mozzarella Company is a little cheese factory in Deep Ellum right at Elm Street and Malcolm X Blvd. It's across the street from Mama Mia's Italian, hidden behind a tree. Of course, you can find Mozzarella Company cheeses at lots of restaurants and groceries in town (In fact, they're sold internationally now.), but it's way more fun to buy directly from the source. For one thing, when you go to the factory, you get to see all the people making the cheese by hand right before your freakin' eyes. Awesome. And another great benefit is that there's a nice lady behind the counter who will be your cheese sherpa. Since I don't know shit about wine and cheese pairings, I love the fact that she'll happily lead me to the perfect cheese for my evening of wine-chuggery.
On this particular trip, I picked up three cheeses. The first was Mexican marigold mint caciotta. The lady at the shop described this one as a "Texas version of Monterey Jack, meaning it's mellow, semi-soft and generally a crowd pleaser." Holy understatement, this cheese was delicious. It paired really nicely with Merlot, but this cheese was so good we could have been just as happy drinking it down with a 2010 Diet Coke. I'm telling you, this cheese was so delicious it could pair nicely with a punch in the face.
Next was Montasio Festivo, which is rubbed with ancho chile paste creating a red, ancho chile rind that you totally must eat. It is approximately a million times tastier than any jalapeno jack cheese you've ever tasted.
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Finally, I was wooed by a .56lb prosciutto mozzarella roll. This thing is fresh mozzarella (made on-site by people I can see working right there behind the plastic curtain. Hi, people!) that they lay out flat and then put thin-sliced prosciutto on top of and roll up just like a jelly roll. A meaty, mozzarella-y roll of "Oh no they didn't." If you purchase one cheese from this fine establishment, let it be the Prosciutto Mozzarella Roll. Unbelievable melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella plus fancy ham equals way too much heart-stopping potential to pass up. It was all the good things about Italian food wrapped up in a nice little ball. To my vegetarians who are all, "I want some of that mozzarella roll action, but gimme it without all that nasty meat stuff!" You veggie monsters can opt to purchase a mozzarella roll filled with basil pesto, sun-dried tomato, green olive or jalapeno chile. Mmm. Options.
My total cost for 1.5lbs of fancy, friend-impressing cheeses was $26.43. If you consider the added value of this trip only taking me about 10 full minutes, because I didn't have to deal with the "express" line at Central Market (Really, Lady With Three Carts-Full of Stuff Who's Trying To Pretend She's Only Got 15 Items? And you're seriously going to write a check?), I see this as the deal of the century.
If you want to do something with these freaking amazing cheeses other than just serve them on a cheese plate like I did, go to the Mozzarella Company website (www.mozzco.com), where they have a bunch of "ooh"-inspiring recipes. The Goat's Milk Caciotta Cheese Souffle caught my eye. Probably because I'm a fan of any recipe that starts, "Melt 6TB butter in heavy saucepan" and also calls for 1 1/2 cups of freshly grated fancy schmancy cheese. Pretty sure my heart stopped from just reading the ingredients list.
The Basket: Mexican marigold mint caciotta, Montasio Festivo, Prosciutto Mozzarella Roll