FAIR LAWN, N.J. — Fair Lawn lifer Mike Grisafe has become tired of the taste of mozzarella.
He only samples it to make sure that it's coming out the way it should — salty and chewy, but not like gum.
Making it, however, is something that will never bore him.
"Handmade mozzarella is a dying art," said Grisafe while pushing a hunk of curd through through a guitara and into a bowl of 160-degree water in the Bella Mozzarella kitchen on Parmelee Avenue.
Grisafe had his first taste of the cheese-production industry in the 1980's, when he began helping out at Scheps Cheese in Paterson. Ten years later, he began a part-time with Montena Taranto in Ridgefield.
The now-expert cheese-maker opened Bella's in the basement of the Fair Lawn Athletic Club in 2000, and quit his job with MT five years ago to take on his business venture full-time.
"Some of my customers have gotten cheese from Brooklyn, the Bronx and Hoboken — all the populars," he said. "I've been in business for so long that I know all of the places they talk about, and I take that as a compliment."
Grisafe can produce mozzarella — and other traditional, Italian products — anytime, anywhere.
"If people ask for it, I bring it," said Grisafe, who sets up his equipment at the farmer's markets and family functions.
He's currently trying to get a booth at the Ramsey Farmer's Market.
Grisafe recommends eating Bella's mozzarella when it's "still warm from the water with a nice, red tomato, roasted pepper, basil and olive oil.
"If Jersey tomatoes were in season all year, business would be booming all year."
Call Mike Grisafe at (201) 232-7914 or (201) 796-0559 to place an order.
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