Provolone Valpadana PDO comes from the family of pasta filata (spun paste) cheeses, which are characterised by the technique of "spinning" the curd, which has ancient origins.
The first notes of this cheese date back to the Middle Ages and come from Southern Italy, the birthplace of the particular production technique.
Encoded with its own standard since 1938 (RDL May 17, 1938, n.1177), Provolone has been protected as "Provolone Tipico" since the mid-50s, after the revision of the national legislation on cheese (Law n. 125 of 10 April 1954 DPR October 30, 1955, No. 1269).
Since 1993 (DPCM April 9, 1993), the name, Provolone Tipico, lapsed to basically identify a generic cheese, and was replaced by the designation "Provolone Valpadana DOC", a Denomination of Origin cheese.
Since 1996, Provolone Valpadana has prided itself on its "PDO", Protected Designation of Origin (EC Reg. No. 1107/96 of 12 June 1996), accepted by Community Legislation (Reg. EEC n. 2081/92 July 14, 1992 and subsequent EC Reg. no. 510/06 of 20/03/2006 and EU Reg. no. 1152/12 of 21/11/2012), which defines the characteristics of products with designation of origin.
Provolone Valpadana PDO is a "pasta filata" (spun paste) cheese with the greatest variety of shapes and weights of any other dairy product. The plasticity of the paste, characteristic to Provolone Valpadana PDO, during processing, allows cheese makers to dabble in producing forms of an albeit infinite variety of weights. Even today, you can see at the ripening warehouses of dairy producers, some "experiment" being carried out by a creative cheese maker. The product specification for Provolone Valpadana PDO (DPCM 04/09/1993) has safeguarded this cheese culture through the identification of a geometric type, replicated in the different weights.
We can distinguish four typical forms: salami, melon/pear, truncated cone and flask, each of which can be produced in weights ranging from 500g to over 100kg.
We must mention the two types of Provolone Valpadana PDO:
Provolone Valpadana PDO is also available portioned (a.k.a "prepackaged") in packs of around 200g, at the refrigerated counters of stores. Although it can be issued for consumption in different weights, all packages of prepackaged Provolone Valpadana PDO must bear the correct Protected Designation of Origin, the label that identifies it and the authorisation number issued by the Consorzio Tutela Provolone Valpadana to each packager.
"Dolce", which is distinguished by the use of veal rennet and is aged for no more than 2-3 months;
"Piccante", which is distinguished by the use of kid and/or lamb rennet paste and is aged for a minimum of 3 months to over a year.