Smoked MozarellaSmoked mozzarella from Mozzarella Fresca. Photo by Melody Lan | THE NIBBLE.




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STEPHANIE ZONIS focuses on good foods and the people who produce them.



May 2006
Updated September 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cheese-Butter-Yogurt

Mozzarella Cheese

Page 4: Smoked Mozzarella & Scamorza


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Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

Smoked mozzarella is a very popular cheese that goes by different names. Some call it scamorza, though Carmine points out that technically, smoked mozzarella is a fresh cheese and scamorza is a slightly aged mozzarella, a drier, more yellow cheese, which is also called provola (I’ve seen it referred to as provoletta, as well).

Scamorza can be smoked, but isn’t always. But, as Carmine says, there’s “no rhyme or reason” in cheese nomenclature; different cities call cheeses different names. If you’re confused (and who wouldn’t be?), just ask your source exactly what you’ll be getting.  

Serving Mozzarella

Please don’t think that mozzarella’s use is restricted only to pizza. It is the consummate pizza cheese, as far as I’m concerned, but if you’ve never tried a Caprese salad—fresh mozzarella; fresh, perfectly ripe tomatoes; and fresh basil—you owe it to yourself to do so. Drizzle the above with a little good olive oil and or balsamic vinegar, grind on a bit of fresh pepper, and devour. Be sure you buy the salted variety; unsalted mozzarella is bland.

Mozzarella is great in a sandwich or just as a table cheese, preferably with some good crusty bread and perhaps a nice bottle of a delicate wine. I like to wrap prosciutto around mozzarella and a slice of ripe tomato, dip that into a “sauce” of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and eat the whole thing as a finger food. Messy? But of course, that’s part of the fun of it.

Smoked Scamorza
Scamorza from The Mozzarella Company.

Carmine advises that refrigerated mozzarella isn’t genuinely “fresh” anymore, and that a truly fresh mozzarella should never get cold. Most of us, lacking the advantage of proximity to a maker of truly fresh “mozz,” as it’s sometimes abbreviated, won’t have a choice; we must refrigerate our mozzarella. If you do so and are not planning to heat the cheese, be sure to allow it to come to room temperature before you eat it. The flavor will be much fuller and the texture, more delicate.

I am indebted to Tom Pedersen and especially to Carmine Chirico for their help with this article. Mr. Chirico has been making fresh mozzarella since he was a young teenager living in The Bronx (he insists that the real “Little Italy” in New York City is located in The Bronx, not in Lower Manhattan). He’s currently passing on his knowledge to the folks at Central Market in Austin, Texas; his next venture will be Harmoni Artisan Market in Orlando, Florida. 


Continue To Page 5: American Artisan Mozzarella Producers

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