Most of the ingredients she cooked with came from the tiny farm immediately behind the restaurant. It was so small that the Pertinis could shout from one end of it to another, but the richness of the soil meant that it supported a wealth of vegetables, including tomatoes, zucchini, black cabbage, eggplant and several species that were unique to the region, including bitter friarielli and fragrant asfodelo. There was also a small black boar called Garibaldi, who despite his diminutive size impregnated his harem of four larger wives with extraordinary diligence; an ancient olive tree through which a couple of vines meandered; a chicken or two; and the Pertinis' pride and joy, Priscilla and Pupetta, the two water buffalo, who grazed on a patch of terraced pasture no bigger than a tennis court. The milk they produced was porcelain white, and after hours of work each day it produced just two or three mozzarelle, each one weighing around two pounds- but what mozzarelle: soft and faintly grassy, like the sweet steamy breath of the bufale themselves.
As well as mozzarella, the buffalo milk was crafted into various other specialties. Ciliègine were small cherry-shaped balls for salads, while bocconcini were droplet-shaped, for wrapping in slices of soft prosciutto ham. Trecce, tresses, were woven into plaits, served with Amalfi lemons and tender sprouting broccoli. Mozzarella affumicata was lightly smoked and brown in color, while scamorza was smoked over a smoldering layer of pecan shells until it was as dark and rich as a cup of strong espresso. When there was surplus milk they even made a hard cheese, ricotta salata di bufala, which was salted and slightly fruity, perfect for grating over roasted vegetables. But the cheese the Pertinis were best known for was their burrata, a tiny sack of the finest, freshest mozzarella, filled with thick buffalo cream and wrapped in asphodel leaves.