Provolone Val Padana is a whole cow’s milk cheese in the shape of a pear or cone. It is a semi-hard cheese with a white to straw color. It has sweet and buttery flavor when aged moderately, and a pronounced, almost piquant, flavor when aged for extended periods of time or when made using goat rennet. Provolone Val Padana is produced in Lombardy (Cremona, Brescia, Lodi, Bergamo, Mantua), Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto (Verona, Vicenza, Rovigo, Padua), as well as in Piacenza – the only area of production south of the Po River.
The name “provolone” comes from the Neapolitan work prova, which became provola, referring to ball-shaped dairy products originally made with buffalo’s milk. Historically, provolone was produced in Southern Italy, even though the first Neapolitan cheese making facility built in Lombardy may date back to when the Austrians controlled the area. With the unification of the regional exchange of goods became more common. Numerous Neapolitan cheese makers took advantage of the low cost of milk in Northern Italy and made cheese to send back to Naples.
Stefano Jacini mentions this phenomenon in well-known government agricultural survey of the late 1800s. Germano Auricchio, founder of still active cheese-making dynasty, set up shop in Cremona in 1891. The production of Provolone Val Padana has been regulated by the Consorzio del Formaggio Tipico Provolone since 1955 and in 2006 the cheese received the DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin) recognition.