Stuffed Burrata at Don Otto's in Boston's South End

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[Photos: Nikki Goldstein]

Don Otto's Natural and Organic Market

577 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118 (map)
617-778-0360
donottosmarket.com

About four months ago, a father and son team took over a tiny space in Boston's South End and began filling it with a collection of hand-picked artisan goods from local farms. Over several visits to Don Otto's, it's become a familiar little treasure trove, with each trip yielding something special that I've never seen before.

My favorite so far? The stuffed burrata from small-batch mozzarella producers, Fiori Di Nonno in Somerville, Massachusetts.

The name sounds redundant—isn't all burrata defined as soft cheese, typically along the lines of creamy curds stuffed inside a bigger ball of tender mozzarella? True, but this gem has an extra layer on the inside with subtle flavors like fig preserves or lavender honey that take burrata—an already perfect creation—to a whole other level.

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The small-batch mozzarella is delicious on its own—it's made from a recipe that's been passed from generation to generation. Recipes like these that are kept within a family are often better simply due to the love that's put into the preservation of tradition, and that seems to play a role here.

Once turned into burrata, the mozzarella is even more delicious. Cheese fans will note that none of the varieties are completely traditional—they're adaptations—with Middle Eastern-style labne forming an extra layer of flavor in the Za'atar variety, Greek yogurt mellowing fig jam, and a mascarpone-labne blend to play off a zesty onion and garlic marmalade. So what if they're not traditional? They're utterly fantastic.

Under no circumstances is burrata a bargain snack, but at $7.95 a ball, these rounds are one of the better deals I've found for the otherwise steeply-priced cheese. Of all those I've tried, it's the roasted garlic and onion that's stolen my heart (or stomach?), and Otto's son is always sure to tell me he agrees.

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But do yourself a favor: Don't leave without a jar of Wood's Apple Cider Jelly, a tart, sweet concoction made from evaporated cider and nothing else (supposedly each pound contains the evaporated cider from about 50 apples, though it only sells for $3.99). For Wood's, it's a family tradition 150 years in the making. For me, it's a new one that I'll happily enjoy schmeared on a baguette or cooked down with pork tenderloin at any given chance.

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