Italian variety of cheese made from cow's milk, provolone is a modern descendant of Caciocavallo cheese. Both of these are known as drawn curd cheeses. Despite its origins in Southern Italy, provolone is now made in several other countries throughout the Americas, Europe, and the subcontinent.
Provolone is a smoked cheese, and since it endures a cheddaring process, it is a close relation to the cheddar family of cheeses. Its rind is smooth and shiny, and has a golden-yellow colour, while the cheese itself is white and possesses a clean, supple texture.
A young provolone (aged between two and three months) has a mild but distinctive flavour, and is suitable for use a table cheese, while older varieties (aged six months or more) have a saltier, more robust flavour, and are commonly used for grating and cooking. Young provolone is recommended for consumption with bread, or with fruits and vegetables such as pineapples, apricots, red or green peppers, and green onions. Grated provolone is best used with meat, in pasta dishes, or on pizza. Red wines, such as chianti, are commonly recommended to accompany provolone.
Provolones are usually made in weights ranging from 3.5 to 6 kilograms, but it is available in weights up to 90 kilograms. This massive provolone is known as provolone giganti. Provolone can take a variety of shapes, including a truncated cone, a sausage shape, a cylinder, or that of a pear. Fat content is usually around 45%.