Massimo Lubisco has been an accountant, a light and sound technician for theatre, a computer programmer and a cameraman.
When he moved to Auckland with fiancee Marina Marchenko in 2006, they started Italian Cheeses because they noticed a gap in the market for locally produced mozzarella.
Their product is made using cow’s milk because they prefer the taste. But they find that some people think it has to be made from buffalo milk to be authentic.
‘‘Many people think mozzarella is only buffalo mozzarella. I try to explain that it’s not as common in Italy as mozzarella made from cows’ milk,’’ he says.
The couple also produce ricotta as well as scamorza, bocconcini and marzotica in smaller quantities.
Their ricotta won gold and their mozzarella picked up a bronze award at the 2012 Cuisine New Zealand Champions of Cheese Award.
When they started the business Mr Lubisco thought he would spend a couple of years making cheese and then return to Puglia. But it has proved a more difficult business than he anticipated.
‘‘It only takes a couple of months to learn to make a quality mozzarella but being able to masterfully mould the cheese by hand takes longer,’’ he says.
What’s more, in order to create mozzarella’s chewy texture the cheese must be stretched in water at a temperature of 90 degrees.
‘‘It’s not easy to adjust to putting your hands in the extremely hot water.’’
Mr Lubisco uses gloves but this is uncommon in Italy.
‘‘If the water is too hot or