Author Topic: Grande question  (Read 10905 times)

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Offline pizzaJoe

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Grande question
« on: October 30, 2006, 12:36:01 PM »
No, not a big question...   ;D

I ordered a 7# loaf of Grande whole milk mozz from PennMac a month or so back.  Man, it was expensive!  I subsequently found out that my local Andronico's sells cut up portions of Grande whole milk mozz so I bought some of that.  I was disappointed by it, it appeared to be dried out and didn't have the creamy taste/texture of the loaf I got via PennMac. So, I moved on to try PollyO and some other cheeses.

This past weekend I was wandering through Andronico's and happened to notice the Grande mozz again.  Suddenly, something struck me that I didn't notice before.  The cut up portions were mostly square implying that they came from a block of cheese.  The mozz I got from PennMac was most definitely not block shaped but really loaf shaped (cross section would be a flattened oval and not a square/rectangle).

Question: why the difference?

Thanks.
PizzaJoe


Offline SLICEofSLOMON

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2006, 02:10:06 AM »
Hi Pizza Joe,

Grande whole milk mozzarella only comes in loaves, unless it is shredded or diced. There is a pretty big window of time that the cheese can be sold and kept, and during that time it will go beyond its peak flavor and performance. The loaf you got from the distributor probably had the right "age" to it, while the dried out cheese from Andronico's can be cut up and sold well past the prime time. Unwrapping the cheese and cutting it up, dries it out. It is always better to get cheese that hasn't been cut.

I have also used Grande from Andronico's and had similar problems. Their stuff tends to sit around sometimes.

Evelyne

Offline pizzaJoe

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2006, 11:36:00 AM »
Hi,

Reporting back after I "uncovered" some insider info.  Don't ask how I found out but the cheese that at least my local Andronico's is selling as "Whole Milk Mozz" is not Grande.  They have a placard in front of the cheese stating it is Grande but no where on the actual package does it say Grande.  I first became suspicious when I noticed the cuts of cheese were from a block of cheese and not a loaf.  I do not think Andronico's is purposely deceiving the public but moreso that the placard is old, they substituted another (local) whole milk mozz and forgot to remove/replace the placard.  I found this out via a bit of sleuthing, I asked some innocent questions of an average employee who was happy to tell me the real scoop (probably/hopefully without even knowing it!).

Now, I wonder if the cheese Whole Foods is selling as Grande is indeed Grande...   :-\
PizzaJoe

Offline scott r

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2006, 11:59:00 AM »
last time I bought "grande" at the walnut creek Whole Foods it was definitely grande.

You should be able to tell when it melts because nothing else covers that well and has the smooth almost burn quality.  It should be VERY soft, almost to the point of being softer than mozzarella.  It should also be somewhat bland.

Offline pizzaJoe

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2006, 12:18:48 PM »
last time I bought "grande" at the walnut creek Whole Foods it was definitely grande.

You should be able to tell when it melts because nothing else covers that well and has the smooth almost burn quality.  It should be VERY soft, almost to the point of being softer than mozzarella.  It should also be somewhat bland.
Hi Scott,

Yah, that's what first tipped me off was the performance of the "grande-but-it's-not-really-grande" cheese.  It didn't behave or taste like the loaf I got from PennMac!   >:(  When I finally realized the shape was wrong, that sealed the deal in my mind.  My "mole" only confirmed what I was already thinking.

I'll try the WF cheese and see if lives up to the grande loaf I bought.  Although, I hate going to WF.  Besides the prices (!), their parking lot is dangerous to not only my car but myself and my kids.

Anyways, I may end up going back to PennMac.  I can go through about 3 loaves (21 lbs) of the Grande, freezing some, in its useful lifetime.  However, that (3 loaves) plus shipping is not very economical.  I may need to organize a group buy - I believe it's somewhere around 7 loaves when the bulk shipping discount kicks in enough to make it actually cheaper per pound than WF/Andronicos...
PizzaJoe

Offline scott r

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2006, 12:32:26 PM »
I would personally much rather pay high prices for grande at WF than have previously frozen cheese.  I can't stand what it does to the meltability/consistency.  After freezing it is almost as if all the good qualities of the grande are gone.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2006, 12:43:06 PM »

Anyways, I may end up going back to PennMac.  I can go through about 3 loaves (21 lbs) of the Grande, freezing some, in its useful lifetime.  However, that (3 loaves) plus shipping is not very economical.  I may need to organize a group buy - I believe it's somewhere around 7 loaves when the bulk shipping discount kicks in enough to make it actually cheaper per pound than WF/Andronicos...

Have you considered Vern's Cheese? Their prices are a little higher, but the shipping to my location was about $7 cheaper. (CA)

Offline pizzaJoe

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2006, 12:46:57 PM »
Have you considered Vern's Cheese? Their prices are a little higher, but the shipping to my location was about $7 cheaper. (CA)

I am *always* willing to try another cheese!   ;D  Do you have a website or other contact info?  I'm in CA too (NorCal) so shipping should be relatively the same.  Man, the grande from PennMac was great but the shipping charges almost knocked my socks off!   :o

Thanks Dan!
PizzaJoe

Offline pizzaJoe

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2006, 01:05:14 PM »
I would personally much rather pay high prices for grande at WF than have previously frozen cheese.  I can't stand what it does to the meltability/consistency.  After freezing it is almost as if all the good qualities of the grande are gone.
Scott, I hear you although my only experience with freezing cheese was not that bad.  I had half of a 5lb loaf of Precious in the fridge when my Grande loaf showed up in the mail.  I froze it and thawed it (slowly in the fridge) after the Grande was gone.  I did not notice any significant change in the performance and/or taste after the freeze and thaw.  Because Precious is so readily available and cheap (about $1/lb), I'm pretty familiar with the taste and performance having used it previously many, many times.  However, that was Precious and I'm assuming Grande would freeze as well.  That might not be the best assumption though...   ::)  I think I'd have to do a test freeze of a whole loaf in my setup before I'd decide one way or another.

Thanks!
PizzaJoe

Offline scott r

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2006, 01:17:34 PM »
sounds like you have had much better luck than I have.

If the precious freezes well I am sure the grande will also.


Offline pizzaJoe

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2006, 01:26:05 PM »
Well, I only have one data point so I wouldn't bet on my luck just yet!   :D  I have vague memories from when I lurked on pmq that the "lore" said freezing was okay in a pinch but shouldn't really be a regular practice.  IIRC, I think the concern was that the freezer is a dry environment and would suck out all the moisture from the cheese.

The problem with chunks from WF is that I often have "pizza parties" with friends.  Parties are a great way to try out new stuff but I do end up going through a lot of cheese.  Buying chunks from WF can get pretty expensive in that case but if Grande really doesn't freeze well, then I guess I'll have to pay the price.   :(
PizzaJoe

Offline scott r

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2006, 01:35:51 PM »
it will still taste the same

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2006, 02:45:47 PM »
I am *always* willing to try another cheese!   ;D  Do you have a website or other contact info?  I'm in CA too (NorCal) so shipping should be relatively the same.  Man, the grande from PennMac was great but the shipping charges almost knocked my socks off!   :o

Thanks Dan!


 :-D No, no, no, it's not a type of cheese! Its another place to buy our beloved GRANDE! Check it out http://www.vernscheese.com/

Just do a search for Grande and it will come up. Like I said, it's a few dollars more, but shipping was only $14 compared to $21 through pennmac. Vern's looks like it's in Wisconsin, so this might explain the difference. I just ordered some Grande 50/50 shredded blend, if you can wait, I'll let you know how the experience was.

EDIT** I just looked a their prices again. It seems the blocks go for a fair amount more, like $4-5 more than PennMac. So your savings in shipping might be a wash. There was less discrepancy in prices on the shredded stuff.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2006, 02:52:15 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline pizzaJoe

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2006, 03:56:28 PM »
Doh!  I did a google search right after my reply to you and found verns.  (I felt like an idiot thinking it was another type of cheese...   :-[ )
Yeah, looks like it is about a wash in final cost per pound.  I won't be doing much pizza making over Christmas unfortunately.  I think I'm going to try PennMac again after the New Year.  Especially if I can get them to hook me up with UPS for a will-call airport pick up.  The last time they sent me cheese, it was in the SF Bay area within 24 hours but then spent two days on trucks driving between wearhouses.  I stare out my work window all day watching planes take off/land at the airport...   ???
PizzaJoe

Offline pizzoid

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2006, 03:31:34 PM »
I suggest you keep looking for a cash & carry place you can get it from. My last buy of Diced Grande 50/50 was a smidge over $2/lb in cases (30 lbs).
Vern's charges over twice that. Of course, you don't need to buy 30 lbs.! What! You say you don't like pizza _that_ much?  ;D

- Al


:-D No, no, no, it's not a type of cheese! Its another place to buy our beloved GRANDE! Check it out http://www.vernscheese.com/

Just do a search for Grande and it will come up. Like I said, it's a few dollars more, but shipping was only $14 compared to $21 through pennmac. Vern's looks like it's in Wisconsin, so this might explain the difference. I just ordered some Grande 50/50 shredded blend, if you can wait, I'll let you know how the experience was.

EDIT** I just looked a their prices again. It seems the blocks go for a fair amount more, like $4-5 more than PennMac. So your savings in shipping might be a wash. There was less discrepancy in prices on the shredded stuff.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2006, 03:53:29 PM »
Pizzoid,

I know I am getting totally ripped off. Actually if you consider the shipping charges, I paid about $6-7 per pound.

This is the first time I bought Grande cheese. I have been on the fence about just how much different it could be compared to retail store bought cheeses. After having another great pie with cheese so stringy it was like bubble gum in my mouth, I decided to go for it. I am convinced that foodservice commercial cheese is far different from what we buy in the grocery store as retail customers. The processing, the amount of fat, solids, flavor, manufacturing, etc., etc. could all be slightly different. I mean if the foods that restaurants used were available retail to everyone, why would anyone go out to a restaurant to eat if none other than laziness?

Beyond this purchase of cheese, I will definitely be looking for an alternative supplier should I really like it. I have already checked most place I could get into and no one carries it. I think Grande is more of an east coast thing. I even had the priviledge of going to a "Restaurant Supply warehouse" that services businesses only and they didn't carry Grande. They only had Polly-0, Precious, and a brand called "USA Cheese" How generic is that!?  :-D
« Last Edit: November 29, 2006, 03:55:15 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline pizzoid

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2006, 04:04:47 PM »
When the Grande rep. brought samples and I made a pie for us, we were talking about the after-chew. That might be that bubble gum like chew you refer to. He was explaining much of that was from the Grande diced and shredded _not_ having anti-caking ingredients (i.e. cellulose) mixed in.

So in theory, shredding your own, freshly from block, will make any cheese give results closer to that "chew".

- Al

 
After having another great pie with cheese so stringy it was like bubble gum in my mouth, I decided to go for it.

Offline pizzaJoe

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2006, 04:39:47 PM »
I want to cry.   :'(  I use Polly-O now but, although acceptable, it's no grande.  Why, oh why can't grande just hire an intern to take orders from individuals?  Don't they know how much other places are making on shipping alone?  I mean, I would even be happy if I got it direct on the basis of "what ever is left over after the wholesalers buy".  Even that would be cheaper than what I can get it for now (~$7-$8/lb)

But, I guess it's the same reason I can't get Swiss American pepperoni retail even though I live within driving distance of the production facility...   >:(
PizzaJoe

Offline scott r

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2006, 04:46:27 PM »
have you guys exhausted all your resources for finding it locally?

If you email grande they will put you in touch with your regional rep.  When I talked to mine he contacted a few of the pizzerias that used the product and found one near me that was willing to sell it to me for 4$ a pound.

Also if you email grande asking what wholesalers in your area sell the product they will give you that list.  There were five around Boston and after contacting them all I found one that was willing to sell cash and carry as long as I ordered at least one loaf or bag (5lbs).  They were even cheaper.

I just hate to see you guys paying all that and freezing it.   I forgot to mention earlier that it tends to burn easier after freezing.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Grande question
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2006, 04:49:13 PM »
I am telling you, there is a big "pizza conspiracy" out there. This isn't rocket science at all. To the contrary, the more simple oftentimes the better. I know morons who own pizza places and make a fortune. They know nothing of half the stuff that is discussed on these boards. They just buy what the foodservice person tells them to. They have made millions of dollars this way.

It's all about having the right ingredients. We just don't have the same access to the ingredients that others do. IMO, this is done on purpose. It preserves the food industry. Hell, Grande knows they can make a fortune selling retail. But if they do, their product no longer becomes a "specialty cheese" and your NY pie in Manhattan will be nothing special. Everyone would be making that stuff at home.