What exactly is Pizzarella?

The short answer: not cheese!

2015-02-08 17.03.14When I first moved to Israel I made the mistake of buying Pizzarella to make pizza, thinking it was mozzarella.  In my newbie state I didn’t read the fine print, which is actually right on the front of the package: חלבון חלב ושומן צמחי aka “milk protein and vegetable oil” that has been formed into little shreds to look just like grated cheese.

The resulting pizza wasn’t that great, and now I know why.  I also know why people buy it: it is way cheaper than mozzarella, about 24 shekel per kilo, compared to mozzarella, which costs around 60-80 shekel per kilo depending on the brand. (For reference, at today’s exchange rates, that’s $2.80/lb versus ~$8.20/lb).  So, understandably, many people prefer to use Pizzarella for pizza cheese, including some pizza chains.

I really taste and feel the difference between Pizzarella and real mozzarella however, so now I buy mozzarella from the cheese counter at my grocery store, especially when it is on sale, ask them to grate it for me, and store it in my freezer for pizza night.  Or, if you want to mix it up, you can try Suluguni for your pizza cheese.

If you also like making homemade pizza, I recommend this quick pizza dough recipe from my fav, Martha.