Cheese of the month January 2016: Burrata from Platform of Personal Pizza for Peace, Đà Lạt/Vietnam

This a monthly series which I have been publishing for years. You can subscribe here, to get the latest cheese delivered directly on to your screen. 

This cheese of the month comes from Vietnam. Those who follow my whereabouts on Twitter might have had in inkling this would happen… To quote the wonderful Chet Baker: I fall in love too easily, I fall in love too fast. With cheese, that is. Except that I’d like to change that into I fall in love soo easily, I fall in love so fast, so terribly hard that it always lasts. At least with cheese. So here it is, the latest object of my desire: Burrata, that mozzarella pouch filled with fresh, buttery cream and curds, made from cow’s milk in Đà Lạt, the lush central highlands situated about 300km northeast of Saigon.

name burrata bubbles

During my recent stay in Vietnam, cheese had not been high on my agenda, as the locals didn’t seem particularly keen on it, except in the form of processed cheese from La Vache qui rit, one of the many reminders of the country’s French colonial past. In fact I only googled “Vietnam cheese” on my last day, in Saigon – and found out that Yosuke Masuko sold  his Burrata, Mozzarella, Camembert and Scamorza a bare ten minutes walk from my hotel!

oven1

Off went a very excited Heinzelcheese, to a beautifully designed pizza place, run with impeccable sense for detail and impressive quality standards. It was a true pleasure to sit at the counter next to the homebuilt stone oven and watch the staff assemble, bake and cut. In contrast to what one might think, customers were mostly Vietnamese. The mid-30 Masuko himself stems from Tokio and ventured in sociology and finances before discovering pizza and cheese as his true vocation in 2011 and opening Platform of Personal Pizza for Peace in Saigon. At the moment his cheese factory in the village of Don Duong in Đà Lạt uses (pasteurized) milk from contracted farms, but he plans to build his own herd. His self-declared motto is to “deliver wow and happiness”, and he certainly succeeded in my case. I wish I could have gone back often, as the wine list also had some real gems. It featured a very drinkable prosecco served by the glass (a rarity in Vietnam, where people don’t seem to be mad about bubbles) which paired perfectly with the burrata, as well as one of the mineraly dry Rieslings from Frankland Estate in the Australian Great Southern.

interior pizza4ps

As you surely notice, I could go on quite a bit about this place but will only add a few words about the cheese: its look and shape were absolutely perfect. Of course, it was made from cow’s milk, lacking the deep complexity and special aromas of buffalo milk. But the texture was a delight and freshness impeccable. So next time you happen to be in Saigon (or Hanoi, where Masuko opened a second place), do go for cheese and pizza – you won’t regret it. Oh, and yes, the other cheeses were also very good. I fall in love so easily…

This a monthly series which I have been publishing for years. You can subscribe here, to get the latest cheese delivered directly on to your screen. 

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