I actually have some new thoughts on Grande that have been incubating a bit after going through a log about a month ago.
It had been some time since I purchased Grande and I had heard about quality control issues, so I wasn't sure what I was going to get. Long story short, it wasn't that great. You know all the complaints about Grande's lack of flavor in recent years? Well, they might have some merit. This:
1. Was yellow - good
2. Was not that dry- it didn't grate cleanly and gunked up the grater- bad
3. Melted flawlessly without any premature browning - good
4. Oiled off perfectly- maybe a tad light oil on the plain and a tad too much with pepperoni, but, between the two, it was a perfect amount of grease.
5. Was noticeably salty - very bad
6. Had very little cheesy/buttery flavor - the kiss of death.
Don't get me wrong, this was above and beyond anything that could be purchased in a supermarket, but, for commercial mozz, it just didn't blow me away.
While I was shopping for Grande, I took a cold hard look at the other brands that my distributor carries. Both the Sorrento and the Polly-O had the identical white shade and wet appearance of supermarket mozz. I know Scott R has great things to say about the Polly-O, but, from the outside appearance, I really don't foresee myself shelling out $40 ($30 for the cheese and $10 for gas) for a 6# loaf.
Jay, based on my Grande experience, you might want to try the Primo Gusto cheese first. I don't have any GFSes near me, so I don't know what else they offer, but if you put up a list here, someone can steer you in the right direction.
I'm still weighing over my next cheese choice. I know Steve (Ev) likes Country Brand, and I have access to that, but $40 is a bit of a gamble, and the freeze/thaw cycles in my frost free freezer make freezing cheese impossible, making 6 lb. incredibly difficult to work with. As it is, on this last log, I threw a big party and still ended up tossing about 3/4 lb.
This isn't going to happen, but I need around 10 local pizzeria fanatics that I can split 3 loaves into 30 portions, giving each person 3 portions- enough for 3 pies, each with a different cheese. That would help me narrow down my cheese choices pretty quickly without breaking the bank. As it is, right now, I think my distributor gives me around 8 whole milk aged mozzarellas. That's around $300 if I have to buy the cheese myself.
The really frustrating part is that while every commercial cheese that I've tried has melted flawlessly, I have tried one or two that had a noticeable provolone-y kind of b.o.-ishness to them. I know some people like that kind of funkiness in a cheese, but I don't. If I spent $30 on one of these cheeses and ended up having throw the whole thing away- that would be especially painful.
I'm kind of between a rock and a hard place these days with pizza. I've made a clear decision that I'm never going back to the brown splotching and potential curdling of supermarket cheese, while I'm too cheap to spend big bucks gambling on unknown food service cheeses.
Bob, I think you're thinking of Bacio cheese. From the people I've spoken to that have tried it, Bacio is decent cheese, but it's definitely not worth the premium price.