Provolone cheese, named after the Italian word "provola," meaning globe-shaped, has its roots in Southern Italy, particularly in the regions of Campania and Basilicata. The cheese-making tradition of Provolone dates back to Southern Italian shepherds who crafted this cheese as a way to preserve excess milk. Over the centuries, Provolone has evolved into a beloved cheese, known for its unique taste and texture.
Characteristics of Provolone
Provolone is a semi-hard to hard cheese that comes in two main varieties: Provolone Dolce (sweet) and Provolone Piccante (sharp). The Dolce version is aged for a shorter time, resulting in a mild, creamy, and slightly sweet flavor. On the other hand, the Piccante variety undergoes a longer aging process, developing a more robust, tangy taste with a crumbly texture.
The cheese is typically made from cow's milk, and the curds are molded into various shapes, including the iconic pear shape. The rind is smooth, while the interior can range from pale yellow to white, depending on the age of the cheese.
Provolone in the Culinary World
Provolone's versatility makes it a favorite in the kitchen. It can be enjoyed on its own, sliced and served with crackers, or incorporated into a variety of dishes. Provolone melts beautifully, making it a popular choice for pizzas, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. The sharpness of aged Provolone adds depth to salads and antipasti platters, showcasing its ability to complement a wide range of flavors.
Notable Provolone Producers
Auricchio – https://www.auricchio.it/en
Casa del Formaggio – http://www.casaformaggio.com/cheese-1
Albiero Caseificio – https://www.albiero.it/it