Provolone Cheese, An Italian Tradition
Provolone cheese, more specifically the Valpadana variety, is an Italian cheese that became common after the unification of Italy. Groups of shepherds from the south began the journey north attracted by the abunadance of good land and cattle for producing Provolone. In this way, the area’s cheesemaking culture merged with the traditions of the Po River valley, allowing for the spread of stringy, semi-hard Provolone cheese throughout the country.
Provolone Valpadana is produced between the provinces of Piacenza and Trento, particularly in the plains of Lombardy in the areas of Brescia, Mantova, Lodi and Cremona. Provolone cheese comes in two varieties dolce (sweet) and piccante (spicey), requiring 2 to 3 and over 4 months of aging respectively.
Provolone cheese is made by pulling the curd batches into long strips by hand. The first mention of it dates back to the Medieval period, when transporting milk during warm periods rendered it unstable and gave it a plastic-like texture. The characteristic procedure involved heating it in very hot water to pull it into shape resulting in spectacular Italian delicacies.