You can’t have pizza without cheese, right? Well, this isn’t completely true, but cheese is definitely a must-have for a majority of pizza eaters. While mozzarella is an easy favorite, there are hundreds of cheeses that enhance and balance flavors of several other toppings, from pepperoni to pineapple. At our pizza restaurant in Santa Fe, you can find the classic mozzarella, provolone, swiss, blue, parmesan, and feta. So what flavors pair the best with these cheeses and more?
Originally made in Naples from water buffalo milk, this famous, mild, and smooth cheese needs a powerful flavor to give the pizza some kick. That’s why spicy pepperoni and seasoned sausage are by far the most popular, but this cheese is easily paired with hundreds of other toppings, including pineapple, eggplant, and BBQ chicken. Because of the high moisture content, mozzarella quickly melts and with the right temperature, browns slightly to give the pizza that special smoky taste.
Gorgonzola cheese comes from the Lombardy region of Northern Italy. Made from unskimmed cow’s milk, the cheese is similar to blue cheese with its blue veins, crumbly texture, salty, and buttery bite. This type of cheese can be paired with anything from pears or apples to sausage to caramelized onions. Add some black olives and bell peppers into the mix and you’ll have yourself a fantastic and untraditional variety of “the works” pizza.
Made in Southern Italy, this cheese is also made from cow’s milk and is a variety of pulled curd cheese. This snackable cheese can be used in hundreds of dishes, but the milk flavor, salty finish, and melty texture make it perfect to add onto pizza. Provolone is often mixed with other cheeses like mozzarella and parmesan, but can definitely stand on its own. Try a tomato base, some crisp broccoli, and a healthy portion of provolone and you’ll be a happy eater.
Cheese fact: the hard Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is the only variety that can legally be called parmesan. From the Parma-Reggio region of Italy, the hard, nutty, and sometimes fruity cheese does wonders to pasta dishes, salads, and of course, pizza. Parmesan isn’t often found on a pizza alone, but the strong flavor combined with an earthy mushroom and some olive oil would be divine. Chicken parmesan, a classic for any household, can easily be turned into a pizza.
Actually not a cheese at all, but a curd, this is the whey that is left over after cheese is made from sheep, cow, goat, or buffalo’s milk. The light flavor is somewhat like cottage cheese, making it a fresh addition to any pizza. Delicious options are tomatoes, spinach, red onion, and pesto.
Feta is certainly an ancient cheese, originating from the Byzantine period. A pickled curd cheese, feta is salty and tangy, which comes from sitting in a brine solution. It can either have a firm, crumbly texture or creamy depending on how long the cheese has been aged. A classic Greek cheese, you need to try a pizza that is topped with spinach and olives.
Swiss is actually an umbrella word for a variety of cheeses. It was originally known as Emmental cheese, from a region in Switzerland. Though it may not be your first option to put on a pizza, the mild flavor has a sweet note and a slightly sharp taste. While ham and swiss is a go-to combination, you don’t have to stop there. Add on mushrooms or zucchini or a unique pie.
For a cheesy experience, come visit our pizza restaurant in Santa Fe tonight.