Grande: I am a convert

I just spent a couple hours with a very pleasant and knowledgeable rep from Grande as well as a sales guy from a vendor seeking my business. First off, I was impressed with both of these guys. they know the business, know the products, and can talk with me in the pizza language. It was very refreshing. No hard sales pitch, just discussion about the cheese and some talk about the vendor policy and business model. I think the sales rep may have been knew to this territory, but he knows the deal.

Now. Grande cheese is all that it is advertised to be, and more. I sampled on some baked pies the whole- and part skim mozzarella shredded and actually tasted and felt the difference. The cellulose in the shredded I get currently really does show up in the texture of the pizzas . . . especially when reheated! There is a slightly more ‘rubbery’ texture to what I thought was a really good cheese . . . and a lot more flavor from the provolone from Grande.

What I originally asked about . . . the ricotta . . . was far beyond anything I could have imagined. I am not exaggerating when I say it is mind-blowing how rich and smooth this ricotta is. I sampled the Soprafina, the Del Pastaio and a cannoli cream made by the Grande rep using the Soprafino. God himself smiled down and anointed this cannoli cream. I made a calzone using the Soprafina, and it baked up smoother, creamier and richer than what I am using (it gets a little dry and grainy in the baking). I was very plese with my current calzone, but this new ricotta would keep them flying out the door.

My next task is pricing this stuff shredded . . and the ricotta . . . to see what my new food cost would be if using it with the lower portion per pie. I am praying they have the diced mozz/prov 50/50 blend nearby. Local USFoods does not currently carry it, but my rep is concerned I may move my cheese business, and is checking to get it in house maybe.


I personally know John Candela the owner of Grande’ He was a member of a private Country club in Fond du Lac WI. that I was their Executive Chef. I’ll tell you a little story about how I started using Grande’ cheese. One Sunday brunch I was cooking omlets on the buffet and John walks up to order a omlet, while I was making his omlet he asks me what kind of cheese I was using and told him that I get my cheese from Sysco and really couldn’t tell him from what factory or anything like that. He then told me that any pizzaria worth it salt in New York city is using Grande’ cheese and it is the best cheese that money can buy. I finished his omlet and he went on his way back to his table. The next day John walks in to the kitchen where I was making soup with what had to be 100 lb. of Grande’ cheese and said It’s the best use my cheese! So ever since I have never use anything else in Italian style cheese. That all. 8)

I am a satisfied customer of Grande’s for 8 years now.

Good stuff.

Was it HAL?

As a grande user I can give you an honest unbiased assesment.
Grande cheese is all thats cracked up to be. It’s consistant, always aged perfectly, melts even and better than the cheap stuff.

Aside from flavor and consistancy I can tell you someone is aslways ready to assist you. You can call them with questions and they know their stuff. Even the operater can answer your questions.
After you become a grande 100%er they start sending you promo products for free as well as tools to use your grande the right way (Portion cups).

My rep who was awsome also told me that my next menu’s are on grande. They also said they would give me a food cost for ALL of my products.

The last thing i can tell you is dont be fooled by the price. You need less grande to cover the pie than you would need for any other cheese. They money you lose per/lb is saved by using less per square inch.

*buying cheese in loaf and grinding yourself will also save you money. We go with the whole milk loaf. It tends to be a little oily but its well worth it…If definatly going with shredded you should try the east coast blend which is 50/50 whole milk part skim.

I’m interested in the East Coast blend, but cannot get it since I . . am . . . on . . the . . .east . . coast? Actually, it is not in at Bari foods here in Atlanta yet.

YES, IT WAS HAL . . . . he says say hi to Otis. Hey to Otis!

I’m committed to provolone blend, so will likely go with diced 50/50 blend if I can make the price and portion work at my place. Initial tests have the staff choosing the current cheese over the Grande. . . I don’t know what happened! I may have mixed up the bins when I made the labels for them. I’ll try a blind state test tomorrow with customers and staff.

Their ricotta is a must buy for us for sure.

But he doesn’t say hi to me??? :frowning:

The ECB is not as good, as we did 4 taste tests. Get the whole mile and some crust savers. IMO

Thanks for your comments Nick…I did a taste taste about a month ago with grande…the blend I tried was not as good as the Sorrento whole milk authentic italian blend that I use and have used for last 15 years…

I have e-mailed Grande to hopefully get a taste test with a blend that is more similar to my current cheese…


Grande is definitely a excellent cheese…you will indeed use less than other manufacturers cheeses…their reps are smart - real understanding of a pizzeria inside and out
good luck with Grande - it is indeed expensive…but worth it if you can afford…if you sell pizzas by the slice this cheese is a must

I used the 50/50 on TOASTED parm subs. Did you sample the diced cheddar blend? The shredded parm for the caeser wraps/salads/subs is excellent and I agree, the ricotta is the best.


Grande if you are listening, PLEASE start selling in CANADA!

That won’t happen. The marketing board has some real tight restrictions on who can sell and how much they can sell and how much the can charge.

Based on the prices people quote here the cost increase to me would be on the order of $20,000 - $40,000 per year. I can’t justify the price. The reps called on us too. We use alot of cheese so we took samples and tried everything out. I don’t see a quality difference that would allow me to raise my prices and the price difference is more than any advantage in coverage or free menu printing will justify.

Grande is an exellent cheese…I have used it b4, either by itself or blended w/another brand…

the sad fact is that many of “our” customers don’t/won’t appreciate the difference…like those same ones who like “boneless” wings…

I’m currently using a Saputo blend…works 4 me @ a substantial cost savings in my market…

find a crust/sauce/cheese combo that you like & your market likes and run 2 the bank!!!