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Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Valentino: buffalo cheese
Photo by: varf
(brusalino is a scribal error), OCast fr. Cat brúfol, It bufala 1. Eng buffalo milk. 2. It probatura, Eng buffalo mozzarella, an Italian cheese made with buffalo milk. It is a creamy cheese with a sharp stingy bite, good for melting. Large herds of buffalo were maintained in Italy during the Middle Ages for transporting cargo and to plow fields. See caciocavallo[ES: Carroll-Mann. “SC-Fideos.” Oct 1, 99; ES: Carroll-Mann. Guisados 2-art. Jun 6, 01:102:ftn 103 and 104; Lladonosa. Cocina. 1984:92-93; Nola. 1989:xlv-1; and Nola/Iranzo.1982:104]

For 6 persons


cheese soup
Photo by: PaulEisenberg
6 c meat broth with grease
10 ½ oz cheese such as Parmesan, Bufalino, Cascavallo[1] or a quality cheese from Aragon, Navarra or some parts of Castile
4 egg yolks
¼ c sugar


Heat the broth and cheese in a saucepan mixing it together and let boil, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Add half the sugar. As it starts to thicken add egg yolks and continue to stir constantly. Dip the spoon in the mixture, lift it up and let the mixture fall back into the pan to see if the paste falls in thick binding threads. When it reaches this stage, it is ready. Remove it from heat and serve in bowls with the remainder of the sugar or other garnish sprinkled on top.

[1] Lladonosa maintains that there is a medieval document stating that this cheese is made from mare’s milk called “cascavall” but Italian dictionaries do not substantiate this. Carroll-Mann in ftn 104 states that this could be cheese from Caciocavallo, Italy where the cheese is made from cow's milk. See caciocavallo published on May 14, 2012.


  1. This is a very strange recipe, though it could seem more familiar than many. First, I suppose brufalino was know only in Italian territories belonging to Aragon, and not in the Iberian Peninsula, even if the marshes around Valencia (for instance) could have provided a good habitat for buffalos, but I have never heard of buffalos in Spain. Secondly, the "thick" soups and the consistence remind me rather of a cheese fondue. I imagine this will upset French ans Swiss, but so it is. As in fondue, the kind of cheese and the ingredients used to emulsionate the mixture is essential: just change one of them and you'll find a kind of rubber ball in the pan!
    Caciocavallo has nothing to do with horses: "cacio" has the same latin root as "queso" and even "cheese", while the most common Italian word "formaggio" and the French "fromage" refer to the form used to give shape to the mixture.

  2. My dear friend and fellow historian Charles Esidaile is confirming French gastronomical robberies during the Napoleonic invasions of Spain. One of the most amusing robberies took place in the village of Carrión de las Condes. The French were bribed with hot chocolate - and thus left the inhabitants alone. The cycle of gourmet cuisine has many routes. The French received their gourmet recipes via the Orient, the Arabs, the Hispano-Arabs, the Catalans, the Italian lands occupied by the Catalans such as Naples, Catherine Medicis, wife of Henry III of France and later on American products and recipes found in Spain during the Napoleonic invasions.
    You have a very interesting point - fondue could be Italian or although we have no proof, Spanish. I would not be surprised if we found buffalo in Spain especially around Valencia.

  3. The glorious battle of Chocolate! perhaps the inhabitants of Carrión de los Condes added some "churro" to reinforce the effect! This is worth a tale, a novel or a film, after all Belgians made "La Kermesse heroique" after a similar plot!
    Let's follow the buffaloes to see if there were any in Spain. With agricultural and then industrial revolution, many old races were replaced, because they produced less milk and / or meat, and because they were no more necessary to do jobs as ploughing ecc., so it is probable that buffaloes were considered no more convenient.