If you must put pineapple on your pizza, at least use the right cheeses

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Pineapple pizza haters, you may want to stop reading now. Pineapple is an excellent pizza topping, bringing sweetness and additional acidity to what is basically already a perfect food, also playing beautifully off other salty, savory, or smoky toppings like ham, onion, and bacon. I will not be entertaining opposing viewpoints at this time. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

That being said, I will concede that it’s possible that straightforward, milky mozzarella isn’t necessarily doing pineapple any favors — or flavors — when it comes to whether or not it belongs on pizza for those who remain unconvinced. (It totally does, though.) Considering the entire universe of cheese, why limit oneself to just mozzarella where pizza is concerned anyway, but especially when dealing with a controversial topping such as pineapple, when several other cheeses might be better able to bridge the gap between tomato sauce and tropical fruit?

Make sure you’re using high quality, fresh pineapple, or a premium canned product such as Del Monte Deluxe Gold for your pizza to start, and then apply any of the following 4 cheeses, or quattro formaggi, for an outcome that could very well result in a pineapple pizza conversion.


Tarentaise is a raw, cow’s milk cheese modeled after France’s Abondance. As a cooked-curd, mountain cheese it’s an excellent melter, which is point number one when it comes to considering it as a potential pizza topping here. What’s more though, it’s hard to find a tasting note for Tarentaise, or any other Alpine-style cheeses made in a similar way, that doesn’t include the word “fruity,” and oftentimes tropically fruity. For Tarentaise, in fact, Murray’s Cheese, Baldor Foods, Saxelby Cheesemongers, ACS CCP blogger Marcella the Cheesemonger, and cheese artist Mike Geno, among many others, all definitively call out “pineapple” for its salient flavor characteristics. You see what I’m getting at here. If you’ve ever found pineapple to be sort of wan when used as a pizza topping, it’s time to amplify pineapple with what experts agree is basically a pineapple-flavored cheese.


When tasting professionals speak about aroma and flavor in beverages and foodstuffs, and from there, potential pairings, sometimes that’s based on what amounts to simple sensory association: that which comes to mind when you smell or taste something. Sometimes, though, there’s actual science involved, where two seemingly different things have chemical compounds in common, such as sauvignon blanc grapes and green peppers, for example. The same holds true for pineapple, and what would otherwise seem to be its flavor opposite: salty, peppery blue cheese. Belgian food science company Foodpairing has identified that blue cheese and pineapple have DNA in common with a compound called methyl hexanoate, uniting them as a harmonious pair. In short, sometimes opposites attract because they’re not so opposite as meets the eye. For a pineapple pairing with a balanced blue with a good amount of salt and sweet, try California’s Point Reyes Bay Blue.


It’s pizza we’re dealing with here, so any number of hard, Italian cheeses would do well to give mozzarella an assist in the pineapple game, playing off of the juicy, sweet fruit with some additional salty funk: many well-regarded recipes for Hawaiian pizza also incorporate Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, etc. My vote, though, goes to Asiago Stagionato, the aged version of what is otherwise best known as being a cheese for baking into bagels. (Asiago pizza bagel with pineapple? Yes.) Asiago Stagionato is a firmer, saltier, Italian version of Tarentaise above, but with a similar, favorable flavor note. Di Bruno Bros’ website suggests that tasting Asiago Stagionato is to “take a ride on cheese’s own Pineapple Express.” An Italian cheese is also an invitation to prosciutto to join the pineapple pizza party and bringing prosciutto to any party is never a bad idea.


Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, but in this case it’s fire in the metaphorical, superlative sense that comes from giving pineapple a little smoke to work with in its pizza journey. If you already make a habit of grilling pineapple in the summer, (also not a bad move when it comes to the pineapple you put on pizza, while we’re at it,) or if your pineapple pizza already includes bacon, then you get why smoke is also favorable to pineapple. Come to think of it, pineapple often grows in volcanic areas…maybe it’s a what-grows-together-goes-together thing. A smoked mozzarella would certainly do the trick here, as would a smoked cheddar, if rounded out with a better melting cheese, but the washed-curd sweetness of a smoked gouda is to really bring the fire to pineapple pizza.

This article originally appeared on TheCheeseProfessor.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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