Provolone Valpadana emerged during the second half of the 19 century, born out of a happy marriage between the range of tretched curd cheeses coming from the south of Italy, and the dairy vocation of Val Padana.
In 1861 the unification of Italy made it possible to overcome the barriers between the various areas of the peninsula, making it possible for entrepreneurs coming from the south of Italy to settle in Val Padana. They were determined to promote and defend the culture and consumption of their cheeses across the country. Val Padana offers much in terms of milk that is appropriate for making cheese and the infrastructure that is necessary for maintaining high-quality production. The presence of numerous barns in the region and the quality of milk facilitates the production of large cheeses. The term ‘Provolone Valpadana’ appeared in literature for the first time in 1871, in the ‘Agriculture Vocabulary of Canevazzi-Mancini’ (cappelli, 1871).
‘Provolone Valpadana’ means ‘large Provola’ (oblong-shaped cheese). ‘Valpadana’ became associated with ‘Provolone Valpadana’ in 1993 (DPCM 09.04.1993) at the crowning of a secular tradition that determined the characteristics for which the cheese is known and appreciated.
Provolone Valpadana must be made in the provinces of Cremona, Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, Rovigo, Padova or Piacenza and in parts of the provinces of Bergamo, Mantova, Lodi e Trento. Provolone Valpadana is a semi-hard stretched curd cheese with a smooth rind, obtained using cow’s milk at natural fermentation acidity. The cheese is completely original, distinguishable from other stretched curd cheeses by its large dimensions, capacity to mature for long periods without drying out and, therefore, tendency to not become a cheese for grating.
There are two types of Provolone Valpadana:
• Sweet, which has a delicate taste.
• Sharp, which has a more decisive taste.
Provolone Valpadana should be conserved in a suitable environment, for example a dark, damp room at a temperature of between 6 and 70c. Position it in the least cold part of the fridge, or at the bottom of other household appliances. Always cover the cut part of the cheese with cling film or aluminum foil, wrap it in paper or in cloth to protect it from the light and put it in a plastic bag. Avoid direct contact between different cheeses and, if possible, take it out of the fridge an hour before serving.
Provolone Valpadana with tomato and oregano sauce
Ingredients: (for 4 people)
• 8 slices of sweet Provolone Valpadana of about 60 grams each or 4 slices of 120 grams
• 500 grams of tomato puree
• 2 slices garlic
• a piece of chili pepper
• 3 spoons of olive oil; oregano; salt.
Pour oil in a big pot. As soon as it starts to fry add the crushed garlic and leave it to brown for a few
seconds, before adding the tomato pulp. Add the chili pepper, add salt and mix. Cover and leave to cook for 10 minutes. Then, lift the lid off the pot and add the slices of Provolone Valpadana, placing on top of each other if necessary. Sprinkle with oregano to taste. Cover the pot and leave to cook for a further few minutes until the cheese starts to melt.