Like mozzarella, provolone is made by the pasta filata process. Slightly piquant when young with a firm texture that becomes granular with age, provolone is made with different cultures, resulting in a fuller, more assertive flavor than mozzarella. In earlier times, Italian cheesemakers heated curing rooms for provolone with wood fires, which imparted a slightly smoky flavor to the cheese. Today, Wisconsin cheesemakers produce both smoked and unsmoked provolone.


Ivory to pale beige


Firm, becoming more granular with age


Full flavor that intensifies and sharpens with age

Serving Suggestions

Top bruschetta with shredded provolone; bake until golden. Add diced tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and minced scallions; serve immediately. Use a mozzarella and provolone blend on pizzas, veal or chicken parmigianas, lasagnas and casseroles. Top crocks of flavorful chicken soup with provolone. Broil until the cheese melts and bubbles.

Goes Well With

Cured meats, tomatoes, pears, grapes, figs Beaujalais, Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, Italian beers, lager beers


Bulk: 600-pound Giganti (7 feet long), 200-pound Giganti, 8-pound to 1-pound Salamini (little Salami), 15- to 20-pound Campane (bell), 20- to 40-pound Pear, 20- to 25-pound Mandarini Shredded: 10-pound bag, 5-pound bag Traditional Shapes: 5-pound Bocci (balls), 2-pound Boccini (little balls), 1-pound Campanelle (little bell), 3-pound, manteche provolone molded around sweet cream butter Retail: random- and exact-weight, shredded 4- to 16-ounce bag

Performance Note

Producers originally tied rope around provolone to hang it in the curing rooms. The rope also came in handy for transporting the cheese on horseback. In Italian, the plural of provolone is provoloni, pronounced "provolone´ee." Manteche is made by hand, wrapping mild provolone around sweet cream butter. As the cheese ages, the butter becomes cultured and takes on the flavor of the cheese. Originally, this cheese provided a way to keep butter without refrigeration. In Italy, these are sometimes called "Burrini." A giganti is a mammoth Wisconsin provolone often displayed by retailers prior to cutting.

  Cold Surface Broil Oven (in recipe) Oven (surface) Direct Heat (in suspension)