I've long talked about how pizza makers here in Chicago have access to a product from Chellino Cheese Makers in Joliet that is unique and available in grocery and specialty stores in the Suburbs. Over the years, I've posted the details of where I've picked it up and have been (informally) tracking the price. This year, we bought the Chellino Scamorza Pizza Cheese from Pete's Market in Oak Brook Terrace. See below for the cheese and the price tag: $12.53. What was it last year? Here's a post from December 29, 2021 that shows a tag from Angelo Caputo's for the same Chellino Scamorza Pizza Cheese that (at that time) was costing: $6.99 . That's some price increase, isn't it? Holy Cow. That's $5.54 increase in 12 months. 80% increase year-over-year. December 2022: $12.53 December 2021: $6.99 November 2021: $7.99 February 2019: $5.99 February 2018: $6.99
Showing posts with the label cheese
Ah, yes. The King of Clubs cold pack cheese. We meet once again. Do you like Merkt's? Then, you'll fall head-over-heels for King of Clubs. It is - for me - the best of the cold pack cheeses on the market. I first posted about it in 2017 and have made a trip to the Mars Cheese Castle on the regular ever since. King of Clubs is the house spread of the Mars Cheese Castle and comes in 2# and 5# pails . Yeah...pails. ( ...at least that's what I call them. They're technically called 'tubs' on the Mars site, but if you're buying five pounds of cold pack cheese spread, then that's coming in a pail. ) There's no shrinkflation going on with the King of Clubs. 16 ounces is still 16 ounces. If you find yourself stopping at the Mars Cheese Castle on your way up to Wisconsin (and...let's be honest...you're going to stop, right?), grab a one pounder of the King of Clubs Sharp Cheddar. Even if it isn't your thing, your Dad will love it.
I've been a proponent of a low-moisture cheese for pizza making for a number of years. A special cheese, specifically: Chellino Scamorza Cheese . It isn't smoked and is most-similar to the traditional low-moisture Mozzarella that you find at the Jewels or Marianos. But, I've been experimenting with a different set of cheeses with my Bar Pies. I took that class with the OG Pizza-online-guy Adam Kuban last year where he talked about his "KuBlend" where he talked about how he blends a couple of cheeses for Bar Pies. For some recent Bar Pie experiments , I've moved away from the Chellino Scamorza and have begun to trial this 2 parts Whole Milk Mozzarella (low-moisture) and 1 part Fontina. Fontina has been on my radar for a bit as the folks at Via Napoli in the World Showcase at EPCOT Center use it (see this post from 2017 that shows a few cheeses they use including: Robiola, Parmesan, Provolone and Fontina.) Below are the two products that I've been
Up at Angelo Caputo's in Addison, they're selling pizza cheese for a full buck cheaper than Frankie's Deli in Oak Brook Terrace . Cheapest I've come across was at Nature's Market in Westmont, but that $5.99 price is (now) almost four years old. For tracking purposes, I shredded six of these #1'ers, but ended up using probably four of them across 10 bar pies and 2 skinny Detroit pies on Christmas Eve. Also, four white Cheddars was probably 50% too much, too. Next year - with the same amount of bar pies, I could factor 4 scamorzas and 2 white cheddars. They bill it as "Cheese for Pizza" from The Chellino Cheese Company, Joliet, Illinois on their packaging. And that's how we use it.
I've long held that this Chellino Scamorza cheese - out of Joliet - is the best pizza cheese for home bakers. I started buying it when we lived in Elmhurst and picked it up at Angelo Caputos up in Addison. Since we moved to Downers, the sourcing of the cheese has been spotty. They have it at Angelo's on 55th here (shared in 2018) , but I had a bad experience with flavor and don't love that store. I've since gone back and have had no problems. I also tracked the price at Nature's Best Market in Westmont where they were selling it for $2 cheaper than Angelo's at $5.99 . I haven't settled on a source, but buy it where I can when I need it. I recently picked up a meal at Frankie's Deli in Oak Brook Terrace (near my folk's place) and noticed they carry the stuff. Here's the tag below showing their price: $7.99. I haven't done enough of a close examination of the price of Chellino Scamorza Cheese over the years, but I think $7.99 is abo
A week later and another Bar Pie shot below. Last week, I showed a photo and talked about my Bar Pie Progress with a sausage and giardiniera 12-incher (well done, of course) where I talked about what I've been working on since early Spring this year. This is a 12" bar pie loaded with cupped pepperoni. I didn't run out for the *right* cheese, so I used what was on hand. Learned a little bit there - and will go back to my traditional blend. This one, however, created a little bit of frico that you can see on the bottom right of photo below. Nice Cups. Loaded with Pepperoni. Base chassis of: Crushed Tomatoes, cheese blend. Finished with a heavy hand of post-oven Romano and basil . Hot Giardiniera added (pre-oven) to half. Menu-wise, I haven't quite figured out how to talk about adding giardiniera to the base bar pie names. Does it become a different pie? Or should all the base menu pizzas be offered with giardiniera as a 'plus-up'? Along with pre-ove
Yesterday I shared some of my Bar Pie progress shots and talked about pockmarks and what-have-you. As part of this journey, I've been thinking about some of what Adam Kuban called "stunt pizzas" during the class I took with him earlier this year. One of the pizzas that I've had in the back of my mind is this shot I posted on the blog back in 2015 . It has a ricotta that I'm pretty sure is added post-bake. And that's what I did recently; my first time with post-bake ricotta. Chellino Ricotta to be exact. I'll be working this stunt pizza out a little bit more because I think it has some promise. 'Roni cups, post-bake ricotta, basil and Mike's Hot Honey. Just like the Spicy Bear from 2015 . Well, almost like that.
It has been a while since I covered a new Wisconsin club cheese - with the last one being back in 2018 . That club cheese was from the Cheese Box in Lake Geneva ; which we haven't been back to as they're taking the pandemic pretty seriously and are only doing curbside. In terms of my favorite(s), the King of Clubs from Mars takes the top slot . I found the Bucky Badger stuff to be right up, there, too. They both are smooth and spreadable. Just like my gateway drug: Merkts. This post is about Kraemer Cold Pack Cheese that Nat picked up at a roadside stand. I think she was there buying corn and saw this and grabbed a container of it - because...well...she's the best. I opened it up and it was a little bit 'crumbly'. Kinda like the Glas natural cold pack cheese - that stuff is very crumbly. But, I liked this Kraemer Cold Pack Cheese Food more than Glas. Kinda funny that they call it a "Cold Pack Cheese Food" - not just simply "Cold Pa
Yesterday, I posted about our visit to St. Louis and eating at Blueberry Hill with their awesome Schlitz Beer lamps . We ate good in St. Louis and I figure I should share more. Being a pizza nerd, a visit to St. Louis isn't complete without grabbing a St. Louis-style pizza. Not familiar with St. Louis being a regional pizza style? Start here with this post on Serious Eats . It is thin, tavern-cut pizza with the most defining characteristic being that it is topped with provel cheese. Provel is a combo of Swiss, provolone and Cheddar. We ordered a medium pizza because it was an odd time of day - and we were on our way to the ballpark for a game. We had half plain cheese, half pepperoni. They lay the 'roni under the provel, so there's no cuppage or #ronicups to be found at Imo's . This pie felt like a close cousin of Chicago tavern pizza, but since we didn't order the sausage, it is hard for me to make that link directly. There's tons of posts/storie
I've written numerous posts about club cheese . It (Club Cheese) is my preferred version of cheese. Better than cubed or sliced. My personal favorite is the King of Clubs from Mars Cheese Castle , but I also really like the Bucky Badger Club Cheese - which is far easier to buy. I've posted about Glas Club Cheese that we bought at the Woodstock Farmer's Market and Brewster House Club Cheese that I didn't love . On a recent trip up to Wisconsin, Nat wandered into a place called The Cheese Box . She said it reminded her of Bobby Nelson's , but much closer to home. On their homepage, they show the inside of the shop and their counter . Looks like a place I'd love, right? She came home with a few club cheeses including this Mild Cheddar - which was awesome. This is private labeled for The Cheese Box, but they're not making it, I don't think. They do, however, make their own curds and Nat scored a container of those (that didn't last v
Like a lot of you guys, we're fans of Mars Cheese Castle. We make a trip there a few times a year and - of course - come away with a crock of the King of Clubs club cheese. Turns out, there's a place that lives in the shadow of the Mars Cheese Castle that has decided to take a different tact towards succeeding: Mars has gone big. Bobby Nelson? He's stayed small. If you've listened to Steve Dahl for any period of time, you might have heard him talk about Bobby Nelson's. I convinced Nat (and her folks...Dahl fans!) to make the 25 minute drive over to the cheese shop to check it out. Above you see the sign: Wisconsin Cheese! Bobby Nelson is a former wrestler (wrassler) who had the move the "full nelson" named after him ?!? Kinda awesome. Below is the shop. If you look closely at the right side of the pic, you can make out one of the turrets of the Mars Cheese Castle. They're like 300 yards apart. Inside, this place is awesome
Earlier this month, I posted about Nature's Best Market in Westmont and the deal they had on Chellino Scamorza Cheese out of Joliet. Nature's Best Market sells it for $5.99 and that's quite a bit cheaper than what I normally see the stuff at Italian markets or a place like Angelo Caputos or Pete's Fresh Market. I can't say it enough: go find this Chellino Scamorza cheese . If you are in the business of making pizzas at home, it will change the way you dress your pies. It is super salty and seems to have a very high burn point, so you can really cook your pies well done and not come away with a very dark/too dark top. The reason why I'm posting about it again, is that I've now found a second source that is in close proximity to our #newoldfarmhouse : Angelo's Italian Market on 55th Street in Downers Grove . Having lived in Downers Grove for more than half-of-a-year, I've now driven by this place more than 100 times. It is ri
Back in 2011, I posted about Chellino Scamorza Cheese on the blog and said - at the time - that it was the *BEST* cheese to shred and dress on your pizzas. I mentioned that I had been using it for a few years and that it isn't cheap. Today? Still the best pizza cheese. And, frankly the ONLY cheese that I'll use to dress my pies . Over the years, I've mentioned this variety of Scamorza Cheese on the blog. Here's a post about a pizza place that opened in Naperville that uses the stuff . And then in 2012, I posted about a visit to this Italian Deli in Westmont called Amici Italian Deli . (Kinda funny...but we live like 2 minutes away from this place now. Too bad it closed!?! I would have been all over it.) This stuff from Chellino - out of Joliet - is different than most Scamorzas in that it isn't smoked and is much more like a part-skim mozzarella that you can take a box grater to the ball. And it is a surprise when we find it in stores. Since we mo
Those of you who have been following along on the blog know a few things about me: I'm pretty passionate about pizza and gardening. But also about Club Cheese. Yeah...Club Cheese. You might call it Cold Pack Cheese. Or Cheese spread. Or a 'tub of cheese'. Here in Illinois, Merkt's rules the grocery store, but Trader Joe's sells something that is a bit more whipped than Club Cheese that they market under the label "Pub Cheese". It is all good stuff. And I'll eat a lot of any variety of the stuff that I come across at parties and social gatherings. Also, I'll eat a lot of the stuff inside my very own house. Pretzels, tortilla chips, pita chips. I'm pretty agnostic when it comes to the vessel that I use to scoop up the club cheese and deliver it to my mouth. But, I've had a few Club Cheese experiences that have allowed me to demonstrate a strong preference for a particular variety. Sure, I still stay true to Merkts. It *is
We stopped at the Farmer's Market in Woodstock on a recent Saturday as part of a trip to Twin Lakes. We were walking to lunch across the square that looks a lot like Stars Hollow (according to Nat!) and while many of the flower and produce stands/vendors didn't make me think twice, when I came across a booth that was selling club cheese , well....I was going to stop. Turns out, it was a booth from the folks at Glas All Naturals Cheese Spreads . At the booth, they had a variety of cheeses including the one you see above that I bought: Cheddar. Glas packages their cheese spreads in glass jars (with *that* name, it seems like a natural fit!) and a metal spin-on lid. It wasn't cheap at $14, but I figured I'd give it a shot and see what it was like. You can see on the lid, they state 'keep refrigerated', but during the transaction, they also stressed the freezable nature of this particular club cheese. They said that we could put it in t
One of the better meals (for me, at least) in Epcot's World Showcase is a pizza pie in the Italy pavilion at Via Napoli . We've dined there a few times and I've always enjoyed the meal and the show. The show, you ask? Yeah....the show. In this case, the show is the open kitchen where the pizzaiolos stretch the dough, dress their skins and get them in and out of the ovens. Like a kid in the Marshall Field's windows at Christmastime, I press my nose against the glass and stare at them assembling and baking the pies for everyone. Nat will tell you that this isn't an uncommon sighting; just about every pizza place that we go to that has an open kitchen/oven, I'll find time to watch the goings ons. On this visit to Via Napoli, I was drawn to the cheese bins and the labels that they had applied to them. The photos you see here are taken from my perspective, so that's why the labels appear upside down. Above, you'll see the mozzarella
There's a whole world of cheese spreads (cold pack or Club Cheese or Crock Cheese) that I've been introduced to with our trips to Twin Lakes in Wisconsin. The breadth of the offerings in the Club Cheese category at the grocery store is simply amazing in Wisconsin. I feel like I just woke up. The latest is this stuff from Shullsburg Creamery. Shullsburg makes tons of cheeses , but they also have a strong entry in the Club Cheese category. Called "The Brewster House Old Fashioned Spreadable Cheese", this isn't topping the King of Clubs from Mars . Nope. But this is different. More like cream cheese than anything else. It is smoother, easier to spread that Merkt's or King of Clubs. But is super tasty. Won't hold up to all of the applications, but works really well on things like pretzels. With King of Clubs or Merkt's, when you take it out of the fridge and try to spread it, you end up breaking your various chips and pitas and what-have-
I've been a Merkt's guy for a while. Sharp Cheddar. Sure, I'll eat the Pub Cheese from Trader Joe's. Or if a tub of Kaukauna shows up for a party or get together...I'll slather healthy amounts of it on crackers, pita chips, tortilla chips or what-have-yous. But it was always Merkt's that I came back to. Until now. I've found my new love and it is the King of Clubs Sharp Cheddar Cold Pack Cheese Food . Yeah...Cheese food. From the folks at the Mars Cheese Castle comes their house brand of cheese spread . They offer it in one pound size but also in five pound size . I probably need to stay away from the five pounder, because the one pound version barely lasted the weekend. (the 18 ounce crock is cute, though. Might become my go-to party-going bring-along? Keep a few of them on hand? I have to think that this stuff - being 'cheese food' - will last quite a while, right??) They serve the King of Clubs in their bar up at the Cheese Ca
These two cheeses were side-by-side at the Jewel this weekend. Being after the 'sharpest' cheddar I could get my hands out, I was confused by which would be better. There wasn't a key on the packages, so I had to guess. I went with 'extra sharp' this time and it worked perfectly for what I was using it for this time. But, why offer both? If I took the time to go look on the Cabot site, turns out this is one of their frequently asked questions . What is the difference between Vermont Sharp, Extra Sharp, and Seriously Sharp Cheddar? Good question. The main difference between the three products is the amount of time they are aged. Cabot Vermont Sharp has a flavor that is reliable and consistent from batch to batch and is a customer favorite. Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar has a strong cheddar flavor that many cheddar fans specifically look for. Just like its younger sibling, Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar, it is consistent from batch to batch. You know what you