Provolone is an Italian cheese made from cow’s milk and whose origins lie in Southern Italy. Though many countries have started producing this cheese, traditional Provolone is still produced only in the northern region of Italy. Both Provolone Valpadana and Provolone del Monaco are granted DOP designation by the European Union to ensure that cheese is produced under strict supervision using specific methods to guarantee supreme quality. Provolone del Monaco is a semi-hard, kneaded-curd, matured cheese produced from the raw milk of cows reared within the province of Naples. For the product to maintain consistent quality it follows certain procedures and criteria. Twenty percent of the milk comes from Agerolese cows to give Provolone del Monaco its unique flavour. The cheese should be matured for a minimum of 180 days, at the end of which the product should weigh 2.5 kg but not more than 8 kg. The pear shaped body of the Provolone tied with raffia is cream coloured, elastic, compact and has characteristic eye holes which may increase towards the centre of the cheese. It has a high fat content of 40.5%. Thanks to the stringent guidelines and intricate processing, the cheese turns out to be extremely flavourful with sweet, buttery aroma with a light, pleasant spicy taste. With extended maturation period, the taste and aroma of the cheese becomes more robust and spicier. The ripe flavour of the cheese goes along with full-bodied and aged red wines. At the table, it could be served with hot chutneys, homemade breads and flat breads.
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