This month we bring you to Campania to discover a typical cheese from Lattari Mountains in the Sorrento Peninsula: the Provolone del Monaco DOP, paired with seasonal Pumpkin.
Provolone is a kneaded-curd, aged cheese to enjoy in our three monthly special dishes: the Insalata with Provolone and Pumpkin; the Pizza with Provolone, Pumpkin and Bacon; the Fresh Tortelli with Pumpkin and Provolone Fondue.
When you taste it, Provolone del Monaco DOP tells you a story about local productions and centuries-old traditions: discover it with us!
Cheese makers and monks
It’s early morning in the Gulf of Naples, the first rays of the sun brighten the sea. The boats approach the port, with their cargo of goods for the market. Among them, you can also see the cheese makers carrying the provoloni from the Sorrento Peninsula to Naples.
To protect from morning cold and humidity, the cheese makers usually cover themselves with a cape, which makes them look like monks: people in the market call them this way (monaco in Italian) and so the cheese they carry becomes the "Provolone del Monaco".
A very precious milk
Cattle are bred on the Lattari Mountains since 260 BC. This tradition continues over the centuries, until the creation of the Agerolese, a new native breed officially recognized in 1952 by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.
Nowadays you can find the Agerolese cows only in the area of Agerola and Gragnano: thanks to the unique environment of the Lattari Mountains, it makes a high-quality milk, used to produce the Provolone del Monaco and local cheeses such as Fior di Latte, mixed with milk of other native cattle.
A centuries-old technique
The making of Provolone originates in the 18th century, when the breeders of the Lattari Mountains begin to produce cheese with a technique handed down to us.
Provolone is made only with raw milk, from which we get the curd. Kneeding is so complex and laborious that it’s often done by two cheese makers at the same time. Then it’s time to give the Provolone the typical shape of a pear or cylinder. In the end, the cheese is aged for at least 6 months.
Colors and flavors
After the aging, the paste of the cheese is half-hard, with ivory color and yellow nuances. The crust is thin, straw-colored with brown nuances.
When you taste it, Provolone has an amazing, intense flavor with spicy notes: just to enhance this peculiar flavor, we created the three special dishes of the month, where Provolone is paired with seasonal pumpkin and other Obicà specialties.
Provolone del Monaco gets the Protected Designation of Origin in 2010, which certifies the quality of the product.
The DOP defines the production area in the Sorrento Peninsula and on the Lattari Mountains and establishes that at least 20% of Agerolese cow milk must be used for making this cheese.
And now you just have to come and taste this story of traditions: BOOK NOW at your favorite Obicà!