Made from unpasteurized cows milk, Provolone Valpadana DOP is a flavourful Italian cheese with a historic background. Learn what makes this spun-curd cheese so unique and how to pair it.
Provolone Valpadana DOP is prized for its wide variety of shapes and sizes, made possible due to the plasticity of its curd. With south Italian origins dating back to the Middle Ages, Provolone Valpadana DOP is a product with generations of history, tradition and skill.
A uniquely crafted cheese
Originally known as prova (test) cheese, Provolone Valpadana DOP is a Pasta Filata cheese characterized by the ancient technique of curd “spinning”. Once spun, the cheese is set in specially made, stainless-steel moulds that allow it to be shaped in a variety of distinct forms: salami-style, pear-shaped, mandarin-shaped, etc. Available in both dolce and piccante versions, Provolone Valpadana DOP is a firm cheese with a smooth rind. It is made using the fresh milk of Friesian cows, which must be made into the cheese within 60 hours of milking. The dolce version, made using veal rennet, is delicate in flavour and aged for no more than 2 to 3 months. The piccante version, made using goat or lamb rennet paste, has a much stronger flavour and is aged for a minimum of 3 months to over a year.
Characteristics of authenticity
Created in the region between the Lambro and Adda rivers, Provolone Valpadana DOP combines the spun curd cheese culture of South Italy and the Po Valley approach to dairy. When looking for the real thing, authentic Provolone Valpadana DOP should bear a rosette featuring a yellow Provolone on a green background. The crust of the cheese should be thin and golden yellow in colour, while the interior curd should be a white or straw yellow colour that is free of air bubbles.
The best ways to enjoy Provolone
Like most cheeses, Provolone Valpadana pairs wonderfully with bread –durum wheat bread for piccante Provolone and sesame or rosette bread for dolce Provolone. In addition, sweet spreads such as honey and fig jam perfectly contrast the salty nature of the cheese. For wine, pair dolce Provolone with medium-bodied white or reds, and pair piccante Provolone with well-bodied white or reds.