Mozzarella cheese is made in various forms such as delicately flavored fresh buffalo milk mozzarella which is principally enjoyed in salads or appetizers. Processed mozzarella cheese is the topping on most bubbling hot pizzas and therefore one of the most commonly consumed cheeses. Smoked mozzarella is enjoyed as a snacking cheese with wine and fruit. A number of cheeses from around the world are made in a similar fashion to mozzarella and serve well as a replacement.
Queso Oaxaca is a Mexican, semi-soft white cheese made from cow’s milk. It is produced in the state of Oaxaca in the southern part of Mexico using the same method as mozzarella, a process that involves stretching the curd and wrapping it into a ball or loaf or manufacturing it in string form. Queso Oaxaca is similar to mozzarella in appearance and in the way it readily melts for pizza, burgers or quesadillas. Shred Oaxaca and use it in the same proportion and manner that mozzarella is used, or buy it in string form and enjoy it as a snack.
Bel Paese was first produced in the early 1900s in Melzo, a small town near Milan. Today it is made in Wisconsin as well as in Italy. It is a semi-soft cow milk cheese that is pale yellow with only a few very small holes. It is made from cow’s milk and is semi-soft with a milky aroma and a mild buttery flavor. Bel Paese cheese is a good stand-in for mozzarella when making pizzas, calzones and casseroles and is even served with ripe pears as a dessert.
Provolone cheese — originating in Italy — is very similar to mozzarella in appearance, flavor and texture. Like mozzarella, provolone is a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese and is made using the same method of stretching the curds, forming the cheese and curing it for two to three months. Provolone is used extensively in sandwich-making, snacking, cooking and preparing desserts. Provolone can be used interchangeably with mozzarella.
Caciocavallo cheese is from the southern region of Italy. It is a cow’s milk semi-soft cheese that is pale yellow with occasional holes that are very small. It is produced in bell- or gourd-shaped form. Traditionally, two of the gourds are tied together by the neck and hung over a horizontal pole to dry, a practice that still takes place in some areas. Slice caciocavallo cheese to place on pizzas or casseroles for a mozzarella-like topping. Caciocavallo is used in sandwiches, salads and other applications mozzarella serves.
References and ResourcesThe Cook's Thesaurus: Semi-Soft Cheeses
Gourmet Sleuth: Guide To Mexican Cheese
The Nibble: Mozzarella Cheese