Provel cheese

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Provel cheese
Provel pasteurized processed cheese for pizza in a 5-pound block
Country of originUnited States
TownSt. Louis
Source of milkCows

Provel (/prˈvɛl/) is a white processed cheese product particularly popular in St. Louis cuisine,[1] that is a combination of cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses.[2][3][4] Provel has a low melting point, and therefore has a gooey and almost buttery texture at room temperature. It is the traditional topping for St. Louis-style pizza. It is also often used in the preparation of cheese soup and served on salads, chicken, and the Gerber sandwich. Some restaurants use Provel for their pasta dishes with white sauce instead of the customary fresh Italian cheese and cream.

Popular in the St. Louis area, Provel is rarely used elsewhere.[5] Provel can, however, be purchased at Hy-Vee grocery stores throughout the Midwest.

According to former St. Louis Post-Dispatch food critic Joe Bonwich, Provel was invented specifically for St. Louis-style pizza more than a half-century ago[when?] by the downtown firm Costa Grocery (now Roma Grocery on the Hill, a St. Louis neighborhood consisting primarily of people of Italian lineage), in collaboration with the Hoffman Dairy Company of Wisconsin (now part of Kraft Foods). Bonwich states that Provel was developed to meet perceived demand for a pizza cheese with a "clean bite": one that melts well but breaks off nicely when the diner bites down. Neither of Bonwich's sources at Kraft and Roma had a definitive answer for the origin of the name, although one popular theory is that it is a portmanteau of the words provolone and mozzarella, two of the cheeses for which it is substituted.[6] Another rumored name origin is that "Provel" comes from the name provolone, removing the "-one" as it is made up of more than one type of cheese.

As a processed cheese, Provel is subject to FDA guidelines on labeling cheese.

The trademark on the "Provel" name, first used in 1947, was held by the Churny Company, Inc. of Glenview, Illinois. Churny then became a wholly owned subsidiary of Kraft Foods[7] after it was closed in 2012.[8]


  1. ^ Stern, Jane; Stern, Michael (2011). The Lexicon of Real American Food - Jane Stern, Michael Stern - Google Books. ISBN 9780762760947. Archived from the original on 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  2. ^ Hulin, Belinda (2007). The Everything Pizza Cookbook: 300 Crowd-Pleasing Slices of Heaven. F+W Publications, Inc. p. 7. ISBN 978-1598692594. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  3. ^ Bonwich, Joe (2012). "Provelology: The study of a made-up cheese with a made-up name". Archived from the original on 2018-05-23. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  4. ^ Veety, Andrew (2010). "A Brief History Of Provel". Archived from the original on 2016-09-25. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  5. ^ Greenblatt, Alan (15 February 2013). "One City's Love Affair With Processed Cheese". NPR. Archived from the original on 2019-08-16. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  6. ^ STLtoday – Entertainment – Dining Archived 2007-10-21 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ LIST OF SUBSIDIARIES OF KRAFT FOODS GROUP, INC. Archived 2021-08-01 at the Wayback Machine on U.S. Securities (retrieved 1 Aug 2021)
  8. ^ Kraft Foods to close Churny Archived 2021-08-01 at the Wayback Machine on Waupaca County News, 13 Jun 2012

External links[edit]