Bocconcini (Italian pronunciation: [ˌbokɔnˈtʃiːni]) (singular Bocconcino, [ˌbokɔnˈtʃiːno]) are small, semi-soft, white and rindless unripened mild cheeses which originated in Naples and were once made only from the milk of water buffaloes. Nowadays they are usually made from a combination of water buffalo and cow’s milk. Bocconcini are packaged in whey or water, have a spongy texture and absorb flavours.
This cheese is described by its Italian name which means small mouthfuls. It is made in the pasta filata manner by dipping curds into hot whey, and kneading, pulling and stretching. Each cheese is about the size, shape and colour of a hardboiled egg: indeed an alternative name used is Uova di bufala, or “Buffalo eggs”.
Bocconcini of water buffalo’s milk are still produced in the provinces of Naples, Caserta and Salerno, as bocconcini alla panna di bufala, in a process which involves mixing freshly made Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP with fresh cream. A Bocconcino di Bufala Campana DOP is also made, which is simply Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, produced in the egg-sized format.
Bocconcini of whole cow’s milk are also manufactured, where the higher liquid content, in comparison to standard mozzarella, lends them the soft consistency of fior di latte.
Bocconicini can be bought at most Italian supermarkets and is often used in tomato, red onion and basil salads to accompany pasta.