There’s Something About Scamorza

Sometimes referred to as mozzarella’s quirky cousin, scamorza is a smoky and milky stretched-curd cheese with a unique pear shape and perfect melting qualities. 


Scamorza has a mild flavor profile with a lot of depth. It’s rich and milky with a hint of piquancy and a slight sweetness at the finish. In scamorza affumicata, or smoked scamorza, this delicate flavor profile is enhanced by a deep, nutty smokiness with notes of caramel.


Scamorza is a semi-soft cheese, smooth and pliable with a slight bounciness. It’s firmer and drier than cheeses with a higher moisture content like mozzarella. When cooked, scamorza melts down to a glossy, creamy texture with an elasticity that results in some very satisfying cheese pulls. 

How It’s Made

Scamorza is primarily produced in the Apulia, Campania, and Molise regions of Italy.  It’s made with pasteurized cow’s milk, sometimes combined with sheep milk. Scamorza is considered a “filata cheese”, a variety of cheese made by kneading and pulling curds in hot water to create a stretchy texture. Other cheeses that fall under this category are mozzarella and provolone. Once the curds have been processed, they are tied up by a string and left to ripen for around two weeks.  This unique technique inspired scamorza’s name, which roughly translates to “beheaded”.

From there, scamorza is either packaged and sold fresh or smoked to create scamorza affumicata. This smoked variety of scamorza is typically made by hanging the cheese over flaming straw, but can also be smoked over pistachio shells to impart a nuttier flavor.


You can use scamorza in much the same way you would use mozzarella. Its mild milky flavor is subtle enough to pair with most meats and vegetables while the smoky quality of scamorza affumicata adds a layer of depth to savory flavor profiles.

Fresh scamorza is a lovely addition to salads and charcuterie boards, but it truly shines in cooked applications. Scamorza is an excellent melting cheese, so add it to pizzas, toasted sandwiches, or use it to top roasted vegetables. You can even grill scamorza on its own. Serve it as is or top with pistachios and guanciale.

Feature Image: Flickr user cyclingshepherd ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

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