Provolone Cheese: Everything You Need to Know
We love to help you try new cheeses here at Shisler’s Cheese House, so today we are helping you to learn everything that you need to know about Provolone Cheese. You might have tried it before, so why not read on to find out all about it?
What is Provolone Cheese?
Provolone Cheese, like mozzarella, is a pulled or stretched curd cheese with two varieties. Dolce (mild Provolone) is aged for just two to three months. It is a semi-soft, mild, smooth table cheese. Piccante is aged for six to twelve months and has a much stronger flavor.
The term Provolone (meaning large provola) appeared around the end of the 19th century when it started to be manufactured in the southern regions of Italy. Modern Provolone has smooth skin and is produced mainly in the regions of Lombardia and Veneto. It is produced in different shapes. Some are like a very large sausage which may be up to 30 cm (1 ft) in diameter and 90 cm (3 ft) long, whilst others come in a truncated bottle shape or a large pear shape which has a characteristic round knob for hanging.
How is Provolone Cheese made?
Provolone cheese can be made with buffalo or cow’s milk, or a mixture of the two. Once the curds and whey have been separated, the curd is kneaded and stretched while still hot. The cheese is bathed in brine before a wax or plastic rind is added to the outside. It is tied up with rope and hung in the aging cellar.
How should I eat Provolone Cheese?
This is a rather versatile cheese. It can be used in cooking, grated to sprinkle over salads, and even incorporated into desserts. It melts very well, so try it in grilled sandwiches, baked pasta dishes or casseroles. You can also enjoy it on pizza, either as a substitute for mozzarella or as a flavorful addition. Add it to savory pies or melt it on top of chicken for an easy but tasty midweek dinner.
If you are serving Provolone as part of a cheeseboard, we highly recommend adding spicy, salty condiments to enjoy it with. Olives, roasted red peppers, chargrilled artichokes, and spicy chili jams or chutneys all work well with the mild flavor of the cheese and will work to give you a taste of Italy.
For an unexpected dessert, served grilled or roasted pears with shredded provolone cheese and a sweet balsamic glaze.
We also stock a Smoked Provolone, which is ideal in Italian sandwiches and pairs well with tart fruits such as apples or grapes.
What should I drink with Provolone Cheese?
A firm cheese like Provolone goes well with a dry rosé wine or a fruity red. Try a Sangiovese or a light Beaujolais. If you prefer white wine, Chardonnay would be a good choice as it will balance the mild saltiness of the cheese. For moments when a beer is more to your taste, a pale ale will go nicely with the cheese without overpowering it.
How do you like to eat Provolone Cheese? Let us know in the comments!