The taste of Provolone can vary depending on its aging process, but it is generally smooth and has a mild, slightly tangy flavor. Younger provolone tends to be more delicate and mild, while aged provolone can have a sharper, more pronounced taste. Some versions of aged provolone can even take on a spicy or peppery flavor profile.
What Is Provolone Cheese?
Provolone is an Italian semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk.
The cheese is known for its smooth, pale yellow rind and firm texture. It has a mild, slightly tangy flavor when young, which becomes more robust and sharp as it ages.
Provolone is often used in sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and various cooked dishes due to its excellent melting qualities.
What Does Provolone Cheese Taste Like?
When it comes to the taste of provolone cheese, the age of the cheese plays a significant role in its flavor profile. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:
Mild and Slightly Tangy in Younger Versions
Young provolone cheese, often labeled as “Provolone Dolce,” offers a delicate, smooth, and mild flavor with a slight tang. This tanginess is often less pronounced than what you’d find in a cheese like fresh mozzarella, making it versatile for a range of culinary applications. The mouthfeel is creamy and the texture is pliable, which makes it perfect for sandwiches or mild cheese platters.
Becomes Sharper and More Robust as It Ages
As provolone cheese ages, it undergoes a transformation in both texture and taste. Older provolone, sometimes called “Provolone Piccante,” can be aged for more than a year. The flavor becomes sharper, more robust, and may even take on spicy or peppery notes. The texture also becomes firmer, making it suitable for grating. This type of provolone adds a depth of flavor to dishes like baked pasta or risottos.
What Is The Texture Of Provolone Like?
- Pliability: Younger versions of provolone are quite pliable, making them easy to slice and even easier to melt.
- Smoothness: The texture is generally smooth, with a somewhat elastic quality, similar to mozzarella.
- Firmness: As the cheese ages, it becomes firmer, almost to the point of being hard, especially in the varieties that are aged for a long time like Provolone Piccante.
- Granular Quality: The texture can also develop a slightly granular quality, which can add complexity to the eating experience.
Varieties: Provolone Piccante vs Provolone Dolce
This is a younger, less-aged variety of provolone that is sweet and mild. It’s often used in sandwiches, salads, or simply enjoyed with fruits.
Aged for a longer period, sometimes exceeding a year, this variety has a notably sharper, robust, and at times, spicy flavor. It’s often used grated over pasta dishes or risottos.
Comparison with Other Cheeses
Mozzarella and provolone are both Italian cheeses made from cow’s milk and share a similar texture when young. However, provolone offers a slightly more tangy flavor and ages to a much sharper profile than mozzarella, which usually remains mild and milky.
Compared to cheddar, another popular semi-hard cheese, provolone is generally milder in flavor when young but can match the sharpness of a medium-aged cheddar as it ages. While cheddar has nutty and sometimes earthy flavors, provolone tends towards a cleaner, tangier profile.
What Is Provolone Cheese Made Of?
Provolone cheese is made from cow’s milk. It’s a semi-hard Italian cheese that is known for its smooth, pale yellow rind and firm texture.
How Is Provolone Different From Mozzarella?
Both provolone and mozzarella are Italian cheeses made from cow’s milk. However, provolone is aged for a longer period and has a firmer texture and more distinct flavor profile. Mozzarella is generally softer and has a milder, milkier taste.
Can Provolone Cheese Be Eaten Raw?
Yes, provolone cheese can be enjoyed raw. It’s often included in cheese platters, sandwiches, and salads.
What Dishes Can You Make With Provolone?
Provolone is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. It melts well, making it ideal for pizzas, casseroles, and hot sandwiches. It can also be sliced and used in cold sandwiches or grated and used as a garnish for pasta and risotto.
How Should I Store Provolone Cheese?
Provolone should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap or wax paper, and then placed in an airtight container. For longer storage, it can also be frozen, although this may affect its texture.
Can I Substitute Provolone For Other Cheeses?
Yes, provolone can often be substituted for other semi-hard cheeses like mozzarella or cheddar, although this will change the flavor profile of the dish.
What Wines Pair Well With Provolone?
Younger, milder provolone pairs well with light white wines, while the sharper, aged versions can stand up to bolder reds like Chianti or Zinfandel.