Provolone is a semi-hard cheese originally from southern Italy. Provolone means "large Provola" -- Provola being the smaller version of the cheese. Like Mozzarella, Provolone is a stretched curd cheese, sometimes called plastic curd cheese. (You can see a video of curd being stretched on our Mozzarella page.)
Provolone has a thin, hard rind that is golden yellow and shiny, and is a light creamy yellow on the inside. It is used as a table cheese and is often found sliced in sandwiches.
Though Provolone originated in southern Italy, most Provolone is made in the Po Valley in northern Italy in the regions of Lombardia and Venetto. Provolone is made in other countries as well.
Provolone comes in many different shapes. You can buy sausage-shaped, watermelon-shaped, or pear-shaped Provolones, as well as several other shapes. Provolone comes plain or lightly smoked (affumicata). In Italy there is a mild version called Provolone Dolce and a sharper version called Provolone Piccante that is aged at least 3 months.
Provolone is made in several different countries. The name Provolone Valpadana is protected by law in Europe and must be made in certain areas of northern Italy to be called by that name. Provolone made in other countries is usually the more mild version of the cheese.
The Consorzio Tutela Provolone Valpadana is the organization that controls the PDO version of the cheese.
You can find nutritional information on Provolone cheese on about.com.
Where to buy
Provolone is a somewhat common cheese, and can be found in many grocery stores.
You can also find Provolone cheese at amazon.com