Did you know that provolone cheese is a great substitute for mozzarella and vice versa? Read on to find out more about this versatile cheese!
Provolone cheese originated from the region of Campania in South Italy.
Its name is derived from the Neapolitan dialect ‘prova‘ or ‘provola,’ meaning globe-shaped, which essentially explains some of their shapes.
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Although it has originated in the south, provolone cheese is now primarily produced in the Po Valley region, particularly the northern parts of Lombardy and Veneto.
The European Union has granted DOP designation, meaning provolone cheese produced in these regions is under strict supervision and uses specific methods to ensure its premium quality.
How is it made?
Provolone cheese is considered mozzarella’s cousin because they both go through the same making process called ‘pasta filata,’ — or ‘spun paste‘ in Italian.
It’s a process wherein the curds are mixed and kneaded until they produce an even, stringy texture without any air bubbles.
They are then formed into balls, and:
- The fresh ones are sold as mozzarella.
- Others are hung in strings to rest and age; then, after two months (at least) are sold as provolone.
Types of provolone cheese
It’s classified into two forms:
Provolone Piccante – is aged at least four months and has a sharper taste.
The sharpness evolves into a complex, almost spicy flavor as this type matures even more — which can be up to three years.
Provolone Dolce – is aged for about two to three months and has a milder, slightly sweet taste compared to the piccante variety.
- Fontina Cheese
Closest in flavor, almost as mild as provolone dolce — and the best part? Fontina cheese melts just as well.
Although milkier in flavor, scamorza bianca has almost the same texture.
It can also be used interchangeably when in need of melting cheese without impacting the flavor of any dish.
Softer in texture because of its freshness, mozzarella has the same mild and delicate flavor that will not overpower any dish.
How to use
For starters, remove the rind —- because it’s generally not eaten.
It’s great with crackers, bread, marmalade, and a nice bottle of full-bodied wine.
Provolone is an excellent melting cheese, so it’s perfect for baking.
Just combine slices of it with some cherry tomatoes and place them in the oven (200°C or 375°F) for twenty to twenty-five minutes, and you’ll have a delicious plate of mouthwatering appetizers.
Slices or chunks of provolone cheese can last up to two weeks, but you need to store it separately in a tightly closed container.
In its original package (or form), though, go by the consume-before-date indicated in the label.