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Smoked cheese, where to begin!

  • h

Smoked cheese alludes me. Too much smoke, too little smoke. Fake smoke?! (what's that about!)..

What cheeses lend themselves to smoke best and what would you avoid?

TIA.

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  1. I find this to be a very sensitive matter. Most smoked cheeses are totally unpalatable (to me) but I love both Idiazabal (spain) and smoked provola (Italy). We also had a smoked aged ricotta, also in italy, where the smoking was just a slight enhancement to the savory quality and did not read as smoke as such.

    The amount of smoke in the Idiazabal is almost imperceptible. I think its important to keep the smoke level down in cheeses. Too many times cheesemakers seem to take pride in special flavors/special wood whereas if the smoke is to a level that these factors are perceptible, its probably already too much. Too, some cheeses taste like "smoke flavor" this is obviously a flaw.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Has any one tried smoked scamorza (scamorza affumicata)?

      1. re: jpr54_1

        the smoked scamorza and provola seem like pretty much the same item in my experience. We buy the plastic wrapped smoked scamorza (is it calabri?) in NY frequently, toast slices of it on a griddle (low-ish heat or it melts into a puddle - you want surface browning and a soft inside) and eat it with a smear of ajvar or a little light tomato sauce and bread. excellent..

    2. I really like Smoked Mozzarella - particularly in a baked eggplant pasta dish I make. The smokiness isn't overpowering, & complements the eggplant wonderfully. It's one of my favorite dishes when eggplant is in season, as it's not a terribly baked pasta dish.

      1. I have had some pleasant smoked gouda and a few others, but I agree with you and jen that too much smoke is not a good thing.

        1. I think one of the best smoked cheese is Up in Smoke by River's Edge - a little hard to find and expensive but very worth it for a small, special fall picnic

          1. About Idiazábal--some are smoked and some aren't.

            Another nice smoked Spanish cheese is queso palmero, a goat cheese from the Canary Islands. There's also San Simón da Costa, a cow's milk cheese that's basically a smoked tetilla.