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Maria Cubellis making mozarella cheese, Mozzarella, 2000; Maria Cubellis (b. 1948); Everett, Massachusetts; Photography by Dore Gardner
Maria Cubellis making mozarella cheese, Mozzarella, 2000
Maria Cubellis (b. 1948)
Everett, Massachusetts
Photography by Dore Gardner
Maria Cubellis pouring curds; Foodways; 2000: Everett, Massachusetts
Maria Cubellis scooping curds into the kettle; Foodways; 2000: Everett, Massachusetts
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Maria Cubellis
Everett, MA
Web Site
Maria Cubellis makes mozzarella cheese by hand, the same way her grandparents did in Paranissea, Italy. She emigrated from Italy in 1968 when she was 19 years old. Before coming to Massachusetts, Maria lived in Canada for 25 years where she and her husband made mozzarella cheese using old world cheese-making techniques. When he became sick, Maria had to take over. In 1989, she opened the Mozzarella House in Everett, Massachusetts where she produces small batches of ricotta, scamorza, burrata, and mozzarella. Everything is made from scratch, using rennet, citric acid, and salt.

Maria describes the ideal cow's milk mozzarella as being "smooth and shiny-white. Moist, sweet, tender and milky with a springy, yielding texture.". In the basement of her Everett home, large stainless steel tanks line the left side of the room. These cooling tanks hold the fresh whole milk. They feed into a pasteurization tank where the milk is heated. The milk is then moved into giant stainless steel kettles where citric acid is added. Heating up to 200 degrees, these tanks cause the curds to separate from the whey.

Maria scoops a big container of curds and drops them into a large pan. She then stirs the curds slowly with a long wooden paddle, the water in this pot is 200 degrees and she sticks her hands in as if it were bath water. Curds are plopped into a large kettle where they are gently stirred with a long wooden paddle. In a few minutes the substance comes together in a silky, white, stretchy mass. Maria lifts it out of the water a bit with the paddle and runs her hand along it deciding whether it is ready to be shaped. Once it reaches the right consistency, she stretches and kneads it before forming it into small round balls of cheese, known as bocconcini. The simple and precise action of squeezing off these little balls of cheese gives this delicacy its name; In Italian, the verb mozzare means to cut off. Everything is made to order. Products are regularly delivered to specialty food shops and farm stands throughout the Boston area.
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