Review: Bel Gioioso Fresh Mozzarella
I just wanted to post a quick review of Sliced Bel Gioioso "Fresh" Mozzarella. I don't know what I was thinking when I threw this into my shopping cart. I usually don't buy fresh mozzarella from a supermarket, but instead buy it from a local Italian specialties shop. I actually prefer the dryer packaged skim mozzarella, smoked mozzarella fontina or provolone on my pizzas. To be honest, I didn't even notice that it was pre-sliced--in other words, they charged even more money for them slicing it for you at the factory. Heck, I haven't even bought "Sugar & Cinnamon" in over 30 years, or "thin sliced pork chops" either... I hate paying extra for something that is simple to do at home.
Anyway, back to the cheese itself. I think it was two Saturdays ago, I took it out and thought I'd use it to make a classic Pizza Neapolitana. What a mistake. First of all, the slices are way too thick (5/8") to just thrown on a pizza... I trimmed them down using safe knife skills and one of my scalloped chef knives. (Still, this was difficult).
Next, the texture was like tofu. Very fake and plastic. The melt happened only toward the end of my 5 minute bake time, and even then I had to put the oven on broil to help them melt down more. As for the taste... well, I wish there was a taste. I've never tasted such a bland mozzarella in my life. It definitely needed salt. Most mozzarella will have up to 200 mg of salt. This one contains less than half that at 85 mg. Fresh mozzarella (the really good stuff) might have salt added at both the curd stage and the hot brine-pulling stage. In the end, the melt on the pizza was not pleasant. It actually cooled down unusually fast and solidified again... the gooey-ness was never really there.
So, because of it's plastic texture, the lack of a good melt and the bland flavor, I give it only one out of five Boccas. One final comment: The beautiful sounding "Bel Gioioso" name doesn't quite cut it for a mozzarella made in Wisconsin. It's just a made up marketing name that means "joyful beautiful" in Italian. Sorry. It's neither.