New member here and excited to be on the forum. My family has owned and operated a pizza restaurant in the Boston area for the last 40 years, and, for as long as we have been open, we have always used Grande cheese on our pizzas. Back when I first opened, I tasted a lot of different cheeses, and always found myself liking Grande for its taste, consistency, and melting property, despite it being more expensive than other full-fat mozzarella cheeses.
I found out recently that our distributor will no longer be carrying Grande products, so we would either need to switch distributors or switch cheeses. Our distributor had a rep from Bacio come in last week to try different mozzarella cheese blends (full-fat and part-skim), but the taste and appearance was just different. We cook all of our pizzas in a stone deck oven at 575°F and noticed that the Bacio cheese seems to have a different melting property than the Grande. Also, the pizza with the Bacio cheese is noticeably whiter than our traditional pizza with the Grande. I’m not opposed to switching from Grande (it is much more expensive than the Bacio - we get Grande at about $3.25 a pound), but after doing blind taste tests with my employees and close friends who all prefer the pizza with the Grande as opposed to the Bacio. Personally, I only taste a slight difference, but I’m afraid that my customers would also notice the change. Even the ricotta cheese was very different between the two, with our shop being used to Grande having a curd consistency and a fresh taste while the Bacio had more of a sour cream like consistency.
Has anyone else made a switch from Grande to another cheese after using it for several decades? If so, what product have you used, and how have your customers reacted? We are so fortunate to have built up a great and loyal customer base who loves the taste of our pizzas, and I would really hate to do something that might take away from that experience.
I’ve been trying to find something that compares to Grande for the last 3 years. Every brand I’ve tried is either inconsistent from batch to batch, breaks down quicker, is loaded with salt, or just doesn’t taste good. If anyone has any brand suggestions I’m open to trying them as well.
IMO if the decision is between switching distributors or switching cheese, I would switch distributors. I’d be hesitant to change any core products unless you have a really good reason to, just my opinion.
Roma PFG really tried pushing Bacio on me when they dropped Grande. They do not have the same melt or taste characteristics. I’m not here to bash Bacio but it is not a direct replacement for Grande where your customers won’t notice. Get a bunch of samples of whole milk and part skim mozz from Wisconsin. We noticed a difference from Wisconsin and Calf. Wisconsin mozz will mimic Grande Better
If Grande is built into your margins and your customers will pay for it, just stick with them
This or at least try the new distributor for Grande and some other products as they’ll give you “intro prices” as a new customer likely on same products you already get from the other guy. I always keep 2-3 distributors to shop prices each week with their online sites and their weekly specials. Keep us posted how it goes.