It is the delicate and fragrant flavor of buffalo mozzarella tasted at Foggia during the show dedicated to street food “Libando, viaggiare mangiando” that taking us to San Giusto, in the Lucera countryside.
Masseria Pavoni in the heart of Borgo San Giusto
In fact, we wanted to know in person those who breed these great animals and went to the Fratelli Carrino at the Masseria Pavoni, which rises in the heart of Borgo San Giusto, a small hamlet that was formerly Neolithic settlement, then staging post for transhumance and place for watering for sheep.
The gaze is lost in a green and silent countryside, then widening in front of a panorama that is not expected in the surroundings of Foggia: a large blue space delimited by the dam where the waters are conveyed of the Torrente Celone, known as the San Giusto Dam.
Arriving, we immediately attracted the imposing construction of the eighteenth century recently restored after the damage suffered by the entire masseria due to the earthquake of 1980, and the barking of the sheep.
In an adjacent shed, a team of well-groomed men is devoting themselves to the delicate operation of mowing. We are curious about it because it is the first time we attend: the “Gentile di Puglia” breed sheep produce a wool that is superior to Merinos, tell us Cristoforo Carrino, a veterinarian who, together with his brothers Gianfranco and Domenico, breeds the most typical animals of the Apulian countryside.
In addition to the 1000 “Gentile di Puglia” breed sheep, the 40 Puglia breed and Murgesi breed, the 50 asses of Martina Franca and Amiatina breed, the 20 Podoliche cows are also breeding the Buffalo for the production of that excellent milk with which they produce the mozzarella tasted in Libando.
And the buffalo was the bet of Dr. Carrino because before his Molissian family had only raised sheep, horses and cows. Here, in fact, the Carrino arrived from Frosolone in the province of Isernia and, after years as fitters have bought the masseria to settle definitively. But they never gave up on the transhumance that if before it pushed to the Molise lands today it embraces the territory of reliefs not far from the area.
The black and white photos hanging in the living room recall the days spent riding the flocks and herds together with the dogs for grazing portal. While the ancient stables still retain the eighteenth-century fireplace for milk processing.
Returning to the 360 Buffalo, Dr. Carrino proudly shows us their stables and their humid places where they really look happy to roll as they certainly love to do since the time of Federico II: but today with a plus, the music! Although we are talking about a single breed, the Mediterranean, whose milk is almost entirely used for the production of “Mozzarella di bufala Campana DOP”, these buffalos are the direct descendants of those accompanying the Saracens of the Emperor and for certain aspects are distinguished morphologically from those of the plain of Paestum or of the Lazio areas.
Cristoforo, with whom we began to give you, confirms our impression and accompany us between the milking room and the edge of the vault where the beasts from May onwards spend their days relaxing, talking about his “creatures”.
“Every pregnancy takes just over 10 months, followed by 270 days of lactation, during which the buffalos are fed with oats and clover, barley, white bean flour and oats produced on their own in the Masseria.
But the secret of the longevity of our buffalo and the goodness of their milk, in addition to the naturalness of the cycle, is that they are not the result of a thrust selection and therefore preserve all the antibodies that allow them to withstand long health. To understand how valuable this milk rich in digestible proteins and low lactose content is, know that for each milking it produces about 8 liters, which are just 1/3 of those who give it a cow”.
Turning to the artificial lake, it is revealed to us that in September, when the level is low, we can see the walls of the basilica of San Giusto completely flooded by the waters after the dam construction. The desire is therefore to return to admire the remains of the glorious past of the village, but also to walk along with the buffalo with water.
But surely we will come back first because we found out that the business space where the Carrino family sells buffalo milk products is open only from Friday to Sunday. So we have been able to appreciate everything that is produced here, from sheep milk cheeses like Canestrato Dop to organic extra virgin olive oil and giant table olives from their olive grove, from flesh to wool but not ricotta cheese, provoli and mozzarella of happy buffaloes.
Before going Cristoforo we are proudly talking about the Plauto project, Lane Autoctone Project, carried out along with the Veterinary and Agricultural Faculty of the University of Bari and funded by the European Community. In addition to the Carrino brothers’ company, the Dibenedetto brothers in Altamura are also involved in the production of wool, and Le Costantine Foundation of Casamassella in Salento, for the transformation of the same into precious fabrics. The purpose is to re-evaluate the product supplied by the Gentile breed sheep and the creation of chains that have the Puglia wool brand.
And in the meantime he shows us the wool from which is obtained a precious and soft knitwear, from the delicate buttery tones. Meanwhile lunch time has arrived and Carrino’s family invites us to his table that welcomes all those who work these days to mourning, as once shared with those who participated in transhumance. We declare grateful but we understand even more because here they all look happy: the sharing of work and traditions together with the future prospects and food make it happy! And not just the buffalo…
Azienda Agricola Biologica Cristoforo Carrino e fratelli
Antica Masseria Pavoni – Contrada San Giusto, Lucera – Foggia
Info: +39 0881 542936 – +39 360 739541 – firstname.lastname@example.org