Cheese of the month

Few things are as fleeting as the sweetness of fresh mozzarella. The richness of its butterfat begins to fade literally within an hour or two of the moment it was turned into a milky white orb. And it's hard to find any fresher than those rolling off the imported mozzarella machine at Claudio's Caseificio in the Italian Market.

"Mozzarella's like bread," says owner Sal Auriemma. "You don't buy it today to eat next week."

Auriemma and his sons, Claudio and Sal Jr., have perfected the delicate texture and lightly salted tang of their cheese since opening this annex to the family's cheese and import market four summers ago. Sliced into lusciously thick white rounds, I can think of no better homage to the blushing tomatoes and plumes of basil that make summer's farm-market bounty so fleeting, too.

- Craig LaBan

Fresh mozzarella costs $6.99 a pound at Claudio's Caseificio, 922 S. 9th St., 215-238-0435.