The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat Provolone. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.
What Provolone etiquette is
Provolone etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat Provolone cheese. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.
If you are hosting, follow Provolone etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.
If you are a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.
What you should know about Provolone
Provolone is a semi-hard Italian cheese. It originates from the southern region of Campania. However, today the major producers are in the northern regions. Mostly in the Po River Valley in Lombardy and Veneto.
Provolone is made from full-fat cow’s milk. It is dark yellow in color, with smooth darker skin and a lighter interior. The most common shapes in commerce are pear and sausage.
Etiquette tips to serve and eat Provolone
1) How to store Provolone
It is best to store Provolone at room temperature. Keep it in a cool place. Away from sources of heat and direct light.
Avoid keeping It out of the fridge when the outside temperature is above 24°C (75°F). If you see the cheese “sweat”, it is likely due to the heat. In that case, place it in a cooler place.
In the freezer, it can last up to many months. However, it is best to avoid storing it in the freezer. Freezing makes the texture and taste of Provolone worse.
After slicing it, Provolone can last for up to 2 to 3 weeks.
Provolone needs to breathe. Do not wrap it in plastic. Avoid aluminum foil too. Instead, wrap it in waxed paper or parchment paper. Alternatively, you can place it in a plastic container. Such as Tupperware.
You can store cooked Provolone in the fridge. It can last for up to 5 days.
2) How to clean Provolone
You do not need to wash Provolone.
3) How to cook Provolone
It is possible to cook Provolone. Baking is the most common way. You can also melt it in a pan.
Provolone is common with pizza and pasta. Also, in many oven-baked recipes such as Parmigiana and potatoes gateau.
Finally, it is a great ingredient for salads and sandwiches too.
4) How to serve & present Provolone
Serve Provolone at room temperature. If you store it in the fridge, take it out 1 or 2 hours before serving.
Provolone is appropriate as part of a cheese serving before dessert. It is common as an appetizer too.
You can serve Provolone whole, in slices, or in small cubes. If you serve it whole, present it with its own serving knife. If you serve it in slices or cubes, you can remove the rind beforehand.
5) Food and wine to pair Provolone with
Provolone goes well with vegetables. Olives. Roasted peppers. Aubergines. Artichokes.
Provolone is perfect for pasta and pizza. You can combine it with Mozzarella in the same recipe. While it does not pair well with stronger cheeses. You can pair it with fruit, jams, and honey. It is uncommon to pair it with meat. Avoid fish and seafood.
The perfect wine pairing depends on the variety of Provolone.
Pair Provolone dolce (mild) with light-bodied red wine. Dolcetto. Lagrein. Chianti. Or with mid-bodied white wine. Tocai. Verdicchio. Vermentino.
Provolone piccante (piquant) calls for a full-bodied wine. Red wine, such as Barbera or Montepulciano. White wine, such as Soave or Vernaccia.
6) How to eat Provolone
The rind is edible. However, sometimes it is too hard to eat. Thus, it is acceptable to discard it.
When Provolone is presented whole, serve yourself with a full slice. Then, remove the rind with a fork and knife.
It is acceptable to eat it with your fingers.
Provolone etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst Provolone etiquette mistakes.
- 9/10. Serving spoiled Provolone.
- 5/10. Pairing Provolone with fish or seafood.
Additional information for properly serving Provolone
How many calories per serving?
Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.
Provolone contains about 350 calories per 100 grams. One slice is usually between 25 and 30 grams. Thus, it contains around 80 calories per serving.
How to buy the best Provolone
A crucial factor in Provolone etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.
Season and availability
Provolone is available all year round
Choose the best
The best varieties of Provolone come from Italy.
Many varieties of the same cheese exist.
Provola and Provoletta (or Provoleta) are basically the same cheese. The difference is mostly due to their size. Provolone being the largest, Provoletta the smallest.
Other varieties depend on the taste and method of production.
- Affumicato: smoked.
- Piccante: sharp. Its piquant flavor derives from its long aging.
- Dolce: sweet.
Avoid Provolone that has soft spots or a foul odor.
Alternatives to Provolone
Common substitutes for Provolone are Scamorza or Mozzarella.