Supplier Focus: Buffalo Mozzarella from Laverstoke Park Farm

At the Green House Hotel, Bournemouth’s most eco-friendly luxury boutique hotel, we believe that the food served in our award-winning Arbor Restaurant should be not only the freshest and best-tasting but also the most ethically and sustainably produced we can find.

That means ingredients that are as local as possible – where possible organic – and produced with love and dedication by small-scale, artisan businesses.

A perfect example is the buffalo mozzarella in Arbor’s new summer menu starter, Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Salad. It comes from Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire, owned by former racing driver Jody Scheckter. According to Jody, this is “the first serious buffalo mozzarella to be produced in the UK; nothing is added to lengthen the shelf life – it is simply made with buffalo milk fresh from the dairy.”

It’s clear that Jody has brought much of the determination, energy and focus (bordering on obsession) to his farming as he did to his Formula One career, the pinnacle of which was becoming World Drivers’ Champion in 1979. The key to success in motor racing is surrounding yourself with the right people, and Jody did exactly the same thing to achieve his goal of producing buffalo mozzarella as good as any you will find in Campania.

“The more I learnt about buffalo, from their higher-protein milk and lower cholesterol meat, to their naturally curious and tactile nature, the more I knew that I wanted to have Asian water buffalo at the farm,” he says.

So Jody enlisted Bob Palmer, a world authority on water buffalo and the first buffalo farmer in the UK prior to joining Laverstoke Park in 2003, when the farm purchased his herd.

Later Jody went to Italy to visit eight different mozzarella producers and milking parlours, and appointed Luca De Rosa, one of the most respected Italian mozzarella specialists, as a consultant. He also sent Laverstoke Farm’s Dairy Processing Manager to Italy “to be trained and learn the art, skill and craft of producing the best mozzarella.”

The result is a beautifully fresh cheese that marries perfectly with seasonal tomatoes of varying shapes, sizes and flavours and emerald basil oil in Arbor’s refined “tricolore” salad.

Apart from the obvious absence of air miles, Laverstoke Park’s buffalo mozzarella has another distinct advantage over Italian mozzarella, Jody points out: “In Italy, most buffalo are not free range and do not graze on open pastures. Our buffalo live outside (except for the coldest winter months), enjoying fresh air, sunshine and muddy wallowing pools. They are nourished by our pastures, which are planted with 31 different herbs, clovers and grasses.”

It’s a wonderful picture, and one that perfectly embodies the Arbor approach to ethical and sustainable sourcing.

Our new Arbor summer menu launches on 26th June. To reserve a table, either in our dining room or al fresco on the Green House lawn, call 01202 498900 or book online.

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