Provolone del Monaco joined the official list of typical Italian products with the certification PDO (protected designation of origin) that was released on 11 February 2010.
Being a product PDO certification requires that the entire production process must be carried out in the region of Campania.
The most accepted theory about the origins of the name “Provolone del Monaco” refers to the fact that the dairymen who landed at dawn in the port of Naples, with their load of provolone from the various locations in the peninsula, to protect themselves from the cold and from ‘moisture, they would cover with a cloak of sackcloth, which was similar to the habit worn by monks. Once in Naples, the people who worked at the market began to call these peasants, monks, and consequently that they were carrying the cheese, Provolone del Monaco.
The Provolone del Monaco PDO is a semi-hard cheese with spun dough, cheese, produced in the area of ​​the Sorrento Peninsula exclusively with raw milk. The specificity of the Provolone del Monaco PDO is the result of a combination of factors typical of the production area, in particular the organoleptic characteristics of the milk produced from cattle reared on the territory of the transformation process that still reflects the craft traditions and the particular microclimate which characterizes the processing and maturing environments.
The distinctive features of the Provolone del Monaco PDO are a form of slightly elongated melon, with a minimum weight of 2.5 kg and a maximum of 8 kg, a thin crust of yellowish, almost smooth with slight longitudinal bays at the ties raffia used to support the couple who divide the Provolone del Monaco PDO.
The technique of production of this cheese is very ancient and laborious: you work the raw milk of each milking or at most two successive milkings and is mixed with kid curd. By coagulation of the raw milk, the curd is obtained, which is broken up to the size of small grains, using a wooden tool called “Sassa”, after which it passes to the subsequent operations of scalding and spinning. The spinning is rather complex, so much so that, in some cases, to turn the curd is required the intervention of two people. When the dough has reached the desired consistency, making the forming that can be pear-shaped, or cylinder. The cheeses obtained are linked in pairs and hung on special racks where they are left to mature, before drying at room temperature for ten to twenty days and then in a temperature between 8 and 15 ° C for a period not less than six months. Follows the brine, drying and curing which is carried out in cellars for a period that varies from 4 to 18 months. But already at nine months the product reaches its excellence, with the peel that from month to month tends to darken up to the typical color of ripe hazelnuts.