The long history of Provolone Valpadana: from its origins to today

History of Provolone Valpadana P.D.O.


The long history of Provolone Valpadana P.D.O.. Italianity, emigration and raw materials of excellence

The history of Provolone Valpadana is the story of a traditional cheese, the result of the interaction, over time, of important factors linked to the territory: the geographical characteristics, the agricultural production and the history of the men who worked and lived there.

The origins

The origins of Provolone Valpadana can be traced back to the period when the Cistercian monks took care of the vast operation of reclamation and channelling of rising and surface waters in the territory between the rivers Lambro and Adda.

This innovation created the basis for the development of a cereal-zootechnical production system, oriented towards dairy cattle rearing and cheese-making, which spread from the original nucleus of the lower Milanese area to the whole Po Valley and then established itself as the main economic resource of Po Valley agriculture, leading to the birth of many typical cheeses.

The birth

Provolone Valpadana cheese was born in the Po Valley around the second half of the 19th century from the happy union between the dairy culture of “spun paste “, coming from the south of Italy, and the dairy vocation of the territory.

The history of Provolone Valpadana continued in 1861, when the unification of Italy made it possible to overcome the barriers between the different areas of the peninsula and, therefore, the settlement of entrepreneurs from the south, who had transferred their production activities to the provinces of Piacenza, Cremona and Brescia. It is still today in these areas that Provolone Valpadana is produced.

This determined the spread of the culture and consumption of spun paste cheeses throughout the national territory. The Po Valley offers a great amount of milk suitable for cheese processing and also the necessary infrastructure to achieve quality production, which is developed in the Provolone Valpadana produced in very different formats (from a few ounces to over a quintal).

The denomination

The name “Provolone” appears in literature for the first time in 1871, in the “Vocabolario di agricoltura di Canevazzi-Mancini” (Cappelli, 1871). “Provolone” thus means a large-sized provola. A completely original cheese, distinguishable from the other spun paste cheese widespread in southern Italy because it is large in size, able to mature for a long time, without drying out too much and therefore without becoming a grating cheese.

The denomination of origin “Valpadana” was introduced alongside the term “Provolone” in 1993 (D.P.C.M. 09-04-1993), crowning a centuries-old tradition that has determined the characteristics for which the cheese is known and appreciated.

1860-1861

Unity of Italy first settlements in the provinces of Piacenza, Cremona and Brescia

1871

Appearance of the name “Provolone” in the “Vocabolario di Agricoltura di Canevazzi-Mancini” (Cappelli, 1871). “Provolone” thus means a large-sized provola

1877

Fondazione Società Auricchio in San Giuseppe Vesuviano (NA) then transferred to Cremona in the 1930s.

1900

Soresina Dairy and Ca’ De’ Stefani Dairy Foundation

1938

First production specifications for Provolone – RDL 17/05/1938 n. 1177

1951

Stresa International Convention on the use of designations of origin and cheese names

1954

Protection of designations of origin and typical cheeses – L. 125/1954

1955

Regulations for the implementation of Law 125/1954 on the protection of the D.O. and typical of cheeses – DPR 667/1955

1955

Recognition of the names in terms of processing methods, product characteristics and cheese production areas – DPR 1269/1955

1993

Typical Provolone cheese becomes Provolone Valpadana – DPCM 09/04/1993

1996

Provolone Valpadana becomes Protected Designation of Origin – Reg. CE n. 1107/1996

1998

Designation C.S.Q.A. S.r.l. as the inspection authority for the designation of origin “Provolone Valpadana”

1998

First product certification

1999

Supervision of protected names – L. 526/1999

1999

Strong type Provolone Valpadana sensory profile

2001

Setting up alternative systems to control the development of surface mold

2003

Mild type Provolone Valpadana sensory profile

2005

Abandonment of preservative E239

2008

Guidebook of good operating practice – Guidelines for the implementation of a company system of self-control of hygiene and health in the production and marketing of Provolone Valpadana P.D.O.

2011

DNA Provolone Valpadana, role of the genomic platform for traceability

2012

Second disciplinary review of production

2014

Life cycle analysis research aimed at measuring and quantifying the average environmental impact throughout the Provolone Valpadana supply chain

2018

Project to export raw milk products to the USA

2019

Research on the effects of raw milk storage temperature on safety features

2019

Third disciplinary review of production

2020

Made Green in Italy project – In-depth research on environmental footprint