Provolone and Gouda are both popular varieties of semi-hard cheese.
They can both be melted, eaten alone or cooked with. They’re both made from cow’s milk.
So, what’s the difference?
It can be pretty hard to determine the differences between the two cheeses when you see their similarities laid out like that.
But, there are several traits that make these two types of cheese distinct from each other, and it’s useful knowledge if you ever run across recipes that call for either of them.
Here is everything you need to know about Gouda and Provolone cheese:
Gouda is a Dutch cheese that originates from the Southern Netherlands. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not actually made in the city of Gouda.
It gets its name from the fact that a lot of the cheese is bought and sold there. “Gouda” itself is not a regionally protected name and it usually refers to the cheesemaking style rather than where it came from.
The only regionally protected gouda is “Noord-Hollandse Gouda”, which is truly Dutch and made with Dutch milk.
Then the water is removed, the cheese is shaped in a mold and brine is added. It’s then aged for at least a month, up to a year.
There are different ages of gouda, from young or new which are aged 4 weeks, to very old or very aged, which are aged for over a year (see mozzarella vs gouda).
Gouda needs to breathe, so you can’t wrap it tightly in plastic. Instead, wrap it loosely in plastic or parchment paper and store it in a warm part of the refrigerator (like the vegetable drawer).
Once exposed, it should last 2-3 weeks, if stored properly.
How does gouda taste and how do you eat it?
Gouda is typically nutty and sweet, having a caramel-like flavor. Younger goudas have a mild, sweet flavor, and a soft texture.
Older goudas are harder in texture, darker in color and have a nutty and buttery flavor that’s sharper than young gouda.
Gouda melts really well, so it’s a great choice to cook with. The younger the gouda, the better it melts because of young gouda’s soft and creamy texture.
If you’re looking for a way to kick your casserole up a notch, try melting some gouda on it. It’s also excellent in macaroni and cheese.
Gouda also pairs well with fruit and sweet wines because of its sweet caramel-like flavor notes.
Provolone is a cheese that originates from Italy. It’s considered a staple there, and it’s become a staple in Italian-American dishes, as well.
A type of processed Provolone was made popular in America when Philly Cheesesteaks became popular, and it has been known as a good sandwich cheese ever since.
Provolone is classified as “Pasta Filata”, or “pulled curd” cheese. This means that the cheese curds are literally pulled into bands of cheese.
The bands are shaped into wheels, then brined and aged.
There are three types of provolone, classified by their age or ingredients. There’s Provolone Dolcem which is aged 2-3 months, Provolone Piccante, which is aged longer than 4 months, and American Provolone, which is similar to Dolce.
Dolce has a mild, sweet taste and is white to yellow in color. Piccante has a sharper flavor due to the fact that it’s aged longer.
How does Provolone taste and how do you eat it?
It’s grainy and firm, yet smooth and creamy in texture.
It melts fairly easily due to the smooth, creaminess of the cheese. It’s salty, tangy and buttery, and all of those flavors make it an excellent addition to any sandwich.
Piccante is a little spicy, and the flavor really comes out when it’s melted. When used as a table cheese, it pairs well with red wine.
Nutritional Information & Comparison
Aside from flavor and texture, sometimes nutritional information can make a difference in deciding which cheese is best for your needs. The following information is based on 1 ounce serving sizes:
|Calories||99.7 kcal||98.3 kcal|
|Carbohydrates||0.6 g||0.6 g|
|Total Fat||7.7 g||7.5 g|
|Saturated Fat||4.9 g||4.8 g|
|Sodium||229 mg||245 mg|
|Cholesterol||31.9 mg||19.3 mg|
Which is better, Gouda or Provolone?
It’s really a matter of what you’re using the cheese in, how you’re eating it or personal preference.
If you’re looking for a sweet, nutty cheese to use in desserts, or with fruit, Gouda is probably the best choice for that situation.
If you’re looking for a salty, savory cheese to complement a sandwich, pair with red wine, or to melt on top of an Italian dish, Provolone is the way to go.
If you’re on a low-sodium diet, mozzarella is a good option (see why). If you’re watching your cholesterol, Provolone is probably the better choice.
Aside from those details, you should go buy some of both and taste them. Find out which cheese you prefer the taste of more. Once you’ve tasted it, it will be easier for you to determine what it will taste good in or with. It’s a lot easier than reading about how a cheese tastes and trying to figure it out from there.