Annabella Buffalo Mozzarella, the world's only grass-fed buffalo mozzarella, made its U.S. debut at Colorado's best restaurants and retail outlets this week.
Made by the Salazar family of Colombia from the milk of more than 3,000 free-range water buffaloes, Annabella rivals the famous Italian buffalo mozzarella in terms of freshness, flavor, tenderness and aroma, according to its producer. Unlike other water buffalo herds being raised for milk, these buffaloes are raised entirely on native grasses and are never confined.
"We think this contributes to the unique, earthy flavor of our cheese," said Andres Salazar, a native of Bogota who attended the University of Colorado and now lives in Longmont, Colo. Annabella was created by his family's Farm & Fields, now in its third generation as producers of top-quality, sustainable coffee, herbs, flowers and fresh produce.
Denver's Shamrock Foods is the first distributor for Annabella in the U.S. Restaurants and retail outlets for Annabella in Colorado include Chef Scott Elliott at the Ritz-Carlton Club & Residences in Vail; Lucky's Market, Laudisio, The Med, Pizzeria del Lupo, Pizzeria Basta, and Jill's at the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder; and Tony's Markets and the University Club in Denver.
Tony's Fine Foods in Sacramento, Calif., will begin distributing Annabella to retail stores on the West Coast starting the week of May 9.
According to Salazar, the best mozzarella is produced from the milk of water buffaloes, which is prized in cheesemaking for its higher fat content compared with cow milk. The buffaloes raised for Annabella are never confined, are never fed grain and are allowed to graze freely on grass year-round in Colombia's semi-tropical climate near the equator. They are regularly moved to fresh pasture to prevent overgrazing and ensure an abundant food supply.
Colombia's proximity to the U.S. market enables delivery of Annabella Buffalo Mozzarella to the U.S. within days of its creation by its skilled cheesemakers. Annabella arrives daily via a three-hour refrigerated flight from Colombia to Miami, where it is immediately sent onward by refrigerated trucks to key cities.
Farm & Fields works with its grower partners in Colombia and Ecuador to sustainably produce the highest quality products for the U.S. market. The family uses organic growing methods without chemical inputs to protect the health of its workers and preserve the environment.