Buffalo Ridge is the only water buffalo dairy in South Africa and the country’s only producer of buffalo mozzarella.
Buffalo Ridge was started in 2006 after many years of research and searching for a suitable breeding herd of water buffalo.
In order to provide an authentic a product as possible, Wayne and Michelle Rademeyer travelled to Campania, Italy, the traditional home of buffalo mozzarella, where they were guests on many of the farms and caseificii (creameries) of founding families of the buffalo mozzarella industry.
Wayne produced South Africa’s first buffalo mozzarella in November 2007. Buffalo Ridge currently sells to most of the top, award-winning restaurants in South Africa, to the country’s top hotels and a growing number of premium retailers.
Buffalo Ridge imported 19 water buffalo heifers and 3 bulls (Rudolph Valentino, Don Juan and Casanova) to form the nucleus of their milking herd. The first buffalo landed at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on 9 August 2006, appropriately Woman’s Day in South Africa. The first calf, Eve, was born on 27 July 2007 and the herd has since gone from strength to strength.
Water Buffalo are domesticated dairy animals, which should not be confused with their African cousins. If treated well, water buffalo are gentle and caring, although their natural curiosity tends to make them destructive.
Water buffalo milk is highly nutritious, with a butter fat far in excess of that of cows’ milk. It has substantially higher levels of protein, calcium, natural anti-oxidants and natural preservatives, which allows the production of stretched mozzarella without the use of additives and chemicals. Water buffalo milk is naturally low in cholesterol.
Most people with allergies and milk intolerances have found that they can safely consume buffalo milk. If you should suffer from allergies, kindly request your medical practitioner to test your tolerance to buffalo milk. The appropriate test is readily available.
BEST FARMING PRACTICES
The farming techniques at Buffalo Ridge are based upon natural, environmentally friendly principles. No pesticides, herbicides or ecologically harmful practices are permitted.
The buffalo are milked gently and naturally, and pasture-fed, which not only promotes their health, it also increases the calcium in the milk which makes for a more flavourful cheese.
Young calves are fed whole buffalo milk, not milk substitutes, to ensure proper development.
The wellbeing of the buffalo is the first priority at Buffalo Ridge.
Water buffalo are believed to have originated in the Indus valley, in what is currently the region stretching from northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India.
There are many stories as to how buffalo ended up in Italy, the one more fantastical than the next. It is, however, accepted that the monks of San Lorenzo in Capua used to enjoy mozzarella di bufala as far back as the 13th century. There are drawings of water buffalo produced by Leonardo da Vinci during the Renaissance.
Water buffalo were concentrated in the marshy Campania region where cattle were unsuitable. The Italian buffalo mozzarella industry is tightly controlled and still based in the Campania region, in the golden triangle around Caserta, Naples and Salerno.
Mozzarella di Bufala is recognised as one of the great cheeses of the world and is another culinary innovation for which the world is indebted to Italy. There are only a handful of buffalo mozzarella producers outside of Italy.
Buffalo Mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala) belongs to the stretched curd type cheese, known as pasta filata, and should not be confused with the less acclaimed cows’ milk mozzarella (fior di latte).
The buffalo milk mozzarella from Buffalo Ridge is made in the traditional, centuries-old method, using only whole buffalo milk and selected cultures to obtain the desired flavour and texture. The mozzarella is hand-made, but machine moulded in the modern Italian tradition.
Other Buffalo Ridge products are whole milk, feta, fromage blanc, yoghurt and a mature, aged cheese called Rockwood.
Our products contain no preservatives, chemical additives, colourants or flavourants.