If you ask Luca Mignogna—the brain behind the stellar cheese Wolf Meadow Farm pumps out of Amesbury on the North Shore—about his first impressions of finally operating an outpost in Boston proper, he’s quick with a wide smile and an accented quip.
“There’s a lot of attention and curiosity for what we’re doing,” he says at the farm’s operating station within the new Boston Public Market. “It’s been a kind of challenge for us to reach Boston. We’re closer to New Hampshire, so [to] spend time talking to customers about what types of cheese we have, letting them try for themselves, it’s great.”
Mignogna, a legacy cheesemaker from Campobasso in the small Molise region of Italy, says that the homemade caciocavallo, scamorza, and ricotta cheeses he carries were a daily part of his life and meals, with his grandfather making dry farmer’s cheeses just to share with family and friends. And growing up around the creation of cheese has shaped his love of the stuff to this day, including what he calls an “unconditional love of mozzarella.”
“It’s a beautiful piece of cheese,” he says. “It’s our best seller. We do it in the oldest methods and tradition, with the passion and love and sacrifice of hundreds of cheesemakers working to make those cheeses perfect.”
But for Mignogna, his perfect, daily made mozzarella also has to be fresh. Insanely fresh. He and his team buy raw milk from local farmers in the morning, which in about 45 minutes to an hour is taken right to their facility, pasteurized, and twelve hours later they have something that was still in the cow the night before. The dry cheeses will age up to a year and a half, depending on style, but it all comes down to the mozz here. “Mozzarella is a culture in Italy, not just a cheese you sell,” he says.
“For us from Campobasso and Molise, [mozzarella] is like New England with maple syrup. Everyone has his own little recipe. We’re not doing anything super crazy. We’re just trying to do it right.”
WOLF MEADOW FARM CHEESES. NOW OPEN AT BOSTON PUBLIC MARKET. 100 HANOVER ST., BOSTON. WOLFMEADOWFARM.COM