|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
|Country of origin||Italy|
|Region, town||Northern Italy|
|Source of milk||Cattle|
|Pasteurised||Depends on cow variety|
|Aging time||At least 4 months|
D.O.: 9 April 1963
PDO: 21 June 1996
Provolone del Monaco:
PDO: 11 February 2010
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Provolone is an Italian cheese that originated in Casilli near Vesuvius, where it is still produced in shapes varying from 10 to 15 cm (3.93–5.90 in) long pear, sausage, or cone shapes. Provolone-type cheeses are also produced in other countries. The most important provolone production region is Northern Italy. Provolone, provola, and provoleta are versions of the same basic cheese.
History and varieties
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, and this cheese assumed its current large size. The smaller sized variant is called provola and comes in plain and smoked ("affumicata") varieties.
Modern provolone is a full-fat cow's milk cheese with a smooth skin, produced mainly in the Po River Valley regions of Lombardia and Veneto. It is produced in different shapes: like a very large sausage which may be up to 30 cm (1 ft) in diameter and 90 cm (3 ft) long, in a truncated bottle shape, and in a large pear shape with the characteristic round knob for hanging. The typical weight is 5 kg (11 lbs).
Provolone is a semi-hard cheese with taste varying greatly from provolone piccante (sharp/piquant), aged for a minimum of four months and with a very sharp taste, to provolone dolce (sweet) with a very mild taste. In provolone piccante, the distinctive piquant taste is produced with lipase (enzyme) derived from goat. The Dolce version uses calf's lipase instead.
In Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay, small discs of locally-produced pulled-curd provolone of 10 to 15 cm (3.93—5.90 in) in diameter and 1 to 2 cm (.39—.78 in) in height are sometimes grilled until partially melted and eaten as a starter, often seasoned with herbs. The cheese when served this way is often called provoleta in Spanish.