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Just what is it that mozzarella tastes like?

I have never thought mozzarella had much taste, is it just me? I was just reminded as I dug into a bocconcini roasted tomato salad made by an Old World grandma and finally decided to just pick out the roasted tomatoes. I love the texture, but is it really that mild or is just me?

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  1. It's a fairly mild cheese. Have you had real (fresh) buffalo mozzarella? It's a whole 'nother animal compared to most of the rubbery stuff that is sold in supermarkets.

    Real buffalo mozzarella has a distinct flavor, namely that of buffalo mozzarella -- mild, yes, salty and a bit of a tang.

    It's absolutely incredible with good olive oil, some basil chiffonade and coarse ground pepper. No balsamic or tomatoes needed. Go and find some!

    3 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      Comparing fresh buffalo milk mozzarella to supermarket stuff isn't really fair. A better comparison would be between fresh buffalo mozzarella and freshly made cow's milk mozzarella -- what Italians call "fior di latte." It is not then so easy to dismiss the fresh cow's milk kind, which can be very good, indeed, although of a different flavor. Water buffalo milk has more than twice the butterfat content of cow's milk, which contributes greatly to its seductiveness. Also, as you point out, buffalo mozzarella has a bit of a tang, whereas cow's milk mozzarella usually doesn't.

      Availability of freshly made cheese being the same, I suppose I would prefer the buffalo milk version. However, it's not the same in the US. Producers of buffalo milk cheeses have had a difficult time here. Former producers in Vermont and California had to terminate operations because of financial difficulties. I believe there is now someone in the midwest making buffalo milk mozzarella, but the cheese is only available regionally. So if my choice is between a buffalo mozzarella imported from Italy that is several days or weeks old and a cow's milk mozzarella made the same day I am buying it, I'd probably go with the latter.

      1. re: cheesemaestro

        Well, it would be rather wonderful to get my hands on cow's milk mozzarella made the same day, but this has proven difficult where I live. So if my only choices are the rubber crap from Belgioso or the imported and likely "older" (but, unfortunately, much more expensive) buffalo mozzarella, I'll choose the latter.

        Thankfully, buffalo mozzarella is widely available in German supermarkets (at a fraction of the price), so I tend to make up for lost time during the summer months when I'm there :-)

        1. re: linguafood

          Fior di latte (the flower of milk) is its own milky creamy wonderfulness. Like eating a cloud. Thank heavens it's readily available quite close to where we live.

    2. It tastes of the protein in milk which has the name of casein and lactoglobulin.

      These are the hard stuff you are left with when taking away much of the liquid. Which is part of the process.

      1. Just as good oysters should should be a reduction of the ocean, good mozzarella should be an epiphany of the cow...wow that Soave is hitting the spot.

        2 Replies
        1. re: whs

          It does taste very clean and fresh if that's the point and I guess milky :)

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            While I can't identify a particular flavor, there must be something as I keep going to back to the fridge for a bite more.

        2. In Italy, just across the frontier here, there are two types of Mozzarella.

          Natural, as in Mozzarella di Bufalo, and what most there refer to as Industrial, or mass-produced cheese.

          Natural Mozzarella, as mentioned above, does have a tangy taste. It is enjoyed and appreciated on it's own.

          The Industrial version is bland, but obviously has it's uses.

          I would urge you to try the natural type, or both, side by side, to experience the difference.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SWISSAIRE

            Anyone know what shredded yellow mozzarella actually is?

            Is that real mozzarella? If so, why is it dry and yellow?

          2. I think it tastes like soft stretchy milk! I love burrata, the cream-filled mozzarella. :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: ohmyyum

              A long time ago, someone I worked with always called the grocery store stuff (only thing available then) "bubble gum cheese". I have never been able to erase that from my mind!

            2. I must be a fan - the 2 lbs from the deli is nearly gone! I can't pinpoint it, though I think it might be the imported Italian olive oil that they use and the freshness of the mozzarella. I find that I'm craving when I need something refreshing.

              1. I love Mozzarella di Bufalo on its on or with good bread and tomatoes. The taste is clean and very fresh but mild. While I will occasionally use it on a homemade pizza I much prefer it on its own.

                Fresh cow mozzarella, found most often in the states, tends to be a little bland but still clean and fresh. Occasionally salty. It is good for salads, bruschetta, sandwiches, pizza and pasta toppings, etc

                Packaged/processed mozzarella (either shredded or in firm blocks) to me is only good for the mouthfeel of melted cheese ie: in a baked pasta dish, on pizza, etc. its add nothing in the way of real flavor.

                Edited to add: Have you tried burrata? to die for. Its mozzarella on outside with a soft center of mozzarella and cream.

                1. When I was a kid, my taste buds were much better. What I think of as "normal" mozzarella, and which has been described by chowhounds here as "industrial," had a distinctively rubber taste to it, when I ate it cold. That sounds like a bad thing, but it really wasn't. I liked the flavor.

                  Now that I am older (62), I can't identify the rubber flavor anymore.

                  Melted "normal" mozzarella doesn't have much flavor. The other flavors in a pizza, like garlic and oregano, give it flavor. It provides mouth feel.

                  Nowadays, I would like my pizza to have some mozzarella for texture but other kinds of cheese to provide some cheese taste, although all cheese flavor becomes muted, once it is melted.

                  As for Bufalo mozzarella, it seems to me it has even less flavor than normal mozzarella, although I do like it as textural component on that salad with sliced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gfr1111

                    Yes, the texture of this mozzarella which I asked and is Bufalo mozzarella as well as the usual salad that I get the local deli and it has a great texture but I agree even less flavor though my new inability to keep my fork out of it might have a different opinion.

                  2. What WHS (and that Soave!) said: the soul of milk. Now, I like just about all the different kinds, from fresh buffalo through supermarket mozzarella fresca to the rubber stuff. My favorite factory brand is Polly-O, with a texture not unlike the fresca and a nice fresh flavor.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Will Owen

                      I like keeping Polly-o string cheese on hand too, for snacking on the go, but it is a whole 'nother animal from fresh mozzarella or burrata or mozzarella di buffala. Each is best suited for different applications, I suppose.

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        I don't know what it is but I inhaled that mozzarella and then needed more. I've developed a new favorite snack. Not sure I'll ever figure out what it is I like about it, but not sure I need to :) The bocconcini and I are now kindred spirits although usually mixed with my favorite marinated tomatoes.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          Hope you are aware of the fact that it's fairly high in fat, despite its appearance. Don't OD on it :-)

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Check, well aware. Thanks, bring on the fat :)

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              Well, its a whole milk cheese. with all the protein and calcium, as well as fat, that that implies.Cheese is a concentrated food.


                              cheeses vary quite a lot in fat and nutritive content depending on whether they are made with more or less creamy or skimmed milk, are more soft or dry, etc.

                              We eat a lot of mozzarella too, its very appealingly milky.

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                Yea I actually hate milk as in a glass of milk or even in cereal, but like the milky sensation from mozzarella. I just picked up a lovely new few scoops of marinated bonccocini from Whole Foods tonight. I've never ventured to the olive bar but found a bunch of great things including marinated tomatoes and mushrooms as well.

                      2. I enjoy the freshness and smooth texture, but the flavor is so mild it tastes mostly like what is over it or under it. It is the tofu of cheese, in a sense.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Veggo

                          It helps to at least sprinkle a little salt on before tasting, especially the fresh.

                          1. re: coll

                            Fresh buffalo mozzarella at room temperature has a great flavor. But I do generally add a little bit of sea salt, coarse ground black pepper, really good quality olive oil, and basil chiffonade.

                            No basil in da house yesterday and it was still delicious....