Provolone Valpadana P.D.O.: characteristics and history of a spun paste cheese
Provolone Valpadana is the spun paste cheese that has the greatest variety of shapes and weights of any other dairy product. The plasticity of the dough, characteristic of Provolone Valpadana during the processing phase, allows master cheesemakers to delight in producing cheeses with a wide variety of weights. Even today you can still come across some “experiments” of a creative cheesemaker in the maturing warehouses of the dairy producers. The production regulations of Provolone Valpadana P.D.O. has safeguarded this cheese-making culture through the identification of typical geometric shapes, replicated in different weights.
We distinguish 4 typical shapes:
- truncated cone
which can be proposed in weights ranging from a few ounces up to over 100 kg.
Types of Provolone Valpadana P.D.O.
A mention should also be dedicated to the two types of Provolone Valpadana:
“Strong“, which is distinguished by the use of rennet made of kid and/or lamb paste and by a maturation ranging from a minimum of 3 months to more than a year.
Provolone Valpadana is also available portioned (in “pre-packaged” jargon) in practical packaging generally around 200 g, at the refrigerated counters of the points of sale.
Although they can also be released for consumption with different weights, all pre-packaged Provolone Valpadana packs must indicate the correct Protected Designation of Origin, the trademark that identifies it and the authorization number released by the Consorzio Tutela Provolone Valpadana to each packer.
Provolone Valpadana P.D.O. derives from the family of spun paste cheeses, which are characterized by the curd “spinning” technique and have ancient origins.
The first notes on this Italian cheese date back to the Middle Ages and indicate the birth of their particular production technology in southern Italy.
Coded with its own standard since 1938 (R.D.L. 17 May 1938, n.1177), Provolone was protected as “Provolone Tipico” from the mid 1950s, as a result of the revision of national legislation on cheeses (Law n. 125 of 10 April 1954 and Presidential Decree 30 October 1955, n.1269).
Since the ’90s
Since 1993 (D.P.C.M. 09 April 1993) the name Provolone Tipico has declined, essentially identifying a “generic” cheese, which was later replaced by the name “Provolone Valpadana A.O.C.”, a cheese with an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée
Since 1996, Provolone Valpadana has been called “P.D.O.”, Protected Designation of Origin (Commission Regulation (EC) No 1107/96 of 12 June 1996), in accordance with Community legislation (Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 and subsequent EC Reg. 510/06 of 20/03/2006 and EU Reg. 1152/12 of 21/11/2012), which defines the characteristics of products with a designation of origin.