Provolone vs. Asiago: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to Italian cheese, there are a few popular varieties that stand out. Provolone and Asiago are two of these cheeses, but what’s the difference between them? Are they the same cheese?

In this blog post, we will compare provolone and asiago and explore their similarities and differences. Let’s get started!

Origin and History

Provolone and asiago are both Italian cheeses, but they have different histories. Provolone is a cow’s milk cheese that originated in the southern region of Italy (1). Asiago, on the other hand, is a sheep’s milk cheese that originates from the Veneto region in northeastern Italy (2).

Production

Provolone and asiago are both made with whole milk and they are produced similarly. Provolone is made by heating the milk and adding rennet, which causes the milk to coagulate (solidify).

The curds are then cut into small pieces and stirred until they form a thick mass. For provolone, it also goes through “pasta filata” where it is dipped in hot water, stretched, and kneaded. Lastly, the cheese is brined and aged. Asiago doesn’t go through “pasta filata.”

Characteristic

The final cheeses have different textures and appearances. Provolone is smooth with a light yellow color and a slightly sweet flavor. Asiago is crumbly with a darker orange color, also sweet, but has a more pungent flavor.

Asiago has a nuttier and developed tone. It’s a hard grainy type of cheese which is closer to parmesan. Provolone is a relatively mellower, sharper tone, with more elasticity and stretchiness, which is closer to mozzarella.

Both cheeses have a slightly salty flavor, but the provolone is a bit sweeter than the asiago, which is quite comparable to the young asiago.

Aging

Both cheeses are having young and old versions. Provolone is typically aged for a few months where people love the sweet taste, while asiago tends to be aged older for its nutty, bitter notes.

Serving and Use

Provolone is often used in sandwiches, salads, or as an appetizer. Asiago is also used in many dishes, but it can also be eaten as a snack or added to pasta dishes.

Both cheeses melt well and are great for dishes like pizza, lasagna, and macaroni and cheese. They also pair well with Italian-inspired dishes like chicken marsala or eggplant parmesan.

Nutrition

The nutritional data is based on the randomly selected few of provolone cheese via USDA FoodData Central.

Both cheeses are high in calcium and protein. Provolone contains about 205 mg of calcium per ounce, while asiago also has around 200 mg (calcium content varies depending on the age of the cheese). So, they are quite the same.

Asiago also has similar protein to provolone – about 7 grams per ounce compared to provolone’s 7 grams. You can read more about the asiago nutrition benefits here.

Asiago has about 36% higher fat and 31% more saturated fat than provolone.

Price

Asiago and provolone are both selling at a similar price. An average piece of Asiago DOP imported will cost around $27, while a pound of Imported Provolone DOP will be around $28. You can get the domestic version of both at a much cheaper price.

Final Thought

So, what’s the verdict? Are they the same cheese? No, they are not the same cheese. They are both Italian, but they originate from different parts of Italy and have different production processes. Their flavor is close but with subtle differences.

FAQs

Is Asiago the same as provolone?

No, asiago and provolone are both Italian cheeses made with cow’s milk but they are not the same cheese.

Can I substitute Asiago for Provolone?

Yes, you can substitute asiago for provolone in most recipes, but expect the flavor and texture to be slightly different. Typically, if you’re looking for something to serve with cracker or bread, aged provolone might do a better job to substitute asiago as it has a sharper taste.

Which is healthier Asiago or Provolone cheese?

Both cheeses are considered healthy. They have high levels of calcium and protein, but asiago also has a higher fat content according to the USDA FoodData Central.

Reference:

  1. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov