Artisan cheesemaking….in Florida!
When it comes to cheesemaking, Florida probably isn’t the first place that comes to your mind.
Tampa resident and Italy native Antonio Casamento is looking to change that.
His business Cheeselicious offers Italian-style buffalo mozzarella cheese as well as around a dozen other cheeses—including Toscano, burrata, and gorgonzola, to name a few.
Casamento started his business four years ago. He has a background in the hospitality industry but had never even milked a cow before. He decided he wanted to try something different, and the buffalo angle seemed to fit.
Casamento offers his cheeses at a variety of area farmers markets. Although he does not use third-party distributors, he has agreements with a few area country clubs and hotels that buy his cheeses. His artisan cheeses are also more affordable than similar ones at gourmet markets.
On a recent Saturday at the St. Petersburg Saturday Market, Casamento and a co-worker charmingly offered free samples from cheeses made the day before. That market is the biggest outdoor fresh market in the Southeast, attracting thousands of people every Saturday. (You can search our blog for an April 2013 article about the St. Pete market.)
So Why Cheeselicious?
Casamento’s cheese uses organic ingredients. You can still eat buffalo cheeses if you are lactose intolerant. Some health sources believe that buffalo milk is healthier than milk from a cow.And more and more consumers want to know where and how their food is made.
“People here are getting more food conscious,” said Casamento. “Many people try to save money on food, but then they end up spending more at the doctor.” Purchasing a fresher, healthier product—even if it’s a little more expensive—is better off in the long run, he said.
To find out more about cheesemaking with Cheeselicious, come to its inaugural farm event, to be held Sunday, July 21, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Thonotosassa. You’ll be able to taste cheeses, and see water buffaloes, bees, rabbits and other farm animals. There will also be a farmers market where you can buy vegetables, bread, olive oils, and more. Live mozzarella stretching, beer brewing, tastings, and BBQ will also be part of the fun.
(Directions to the farm event on July 21: Exit 10 on I-4, north on 579, turn right on Pruett, pass stop sign, pass school on left, turn right (north) on Kingsway ½ mile as soon curves start, gate is on left.)