Though better known in the world, provolone is basically just a bigger provola. Originally from Campania, most of it is now made in the north. Two DOP versions are Provolone Val Padana from the Veneto and Provolone del Monaco, from Campania.
Different varieties of this versatile cheese range from sweet to sharp: you have the slightly spicy Classico, Dolce, Giovane and Stravecchio and they end up in antipasti, sandwiches, salads and many cooked dishes. Lately it has become popular to bake one or more varieties into savoury tarts and breads.
Auricchio, a provolone company founded near Naples in 1877 (and which later expanded to Pieve San Giacomo near Cremona) is so respected and so well marketed—their red 'A with an anchor' symbol is famous in cheese land— that you may just see Auricchio on menus that use their provolone.
Images by: Erik Ogan