Provolone is an Italian cheese that originated in Southern
Italy, where it is still produced in various shapes as in 10 to 15 cm long pear
shapes, cheesesausage shape or cone shape. A variant of Provolone is also
produced in North America and Japan. The most important Provolone production
region is currently Northern Italy.
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.
Provolone is today a whole-milk cow cheese with a smooth skin produced mainly in
the Po River Valley regions of Lombardia and Veneto. It is produced in different
forms: shaped like large salami up to 30 cm in diameter and 90 cm long; in a
watermelon shape; in a truncated bottle shape; or also in a large pear shape
with the characteristic round knob for hanging. The average weight is 5 kg.
Provolone is a semi-hard cheese with taste varying greatly from Provolone
Piccante (piquant), aged minimum 4 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 originating from goat. The
Dolce version uses calf's lipase instead.
In Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, small discs of locally-produced "Provolone" of
10 to 15 cm in diameter and 1 to 2 cm in height are generally consumed before
eating grilled meat. The Provolone is either placed directly on the grill, on
small stones or inside a foil plate and cooked until melted. The provoleta is
seasoned with "chimichurri", a mixture of oils and spices, and usually eaten