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Proving my love for Provel

April 30, 2009

Some people love cars.  Others, music.

My love is cheese.

I’m not kidding.

When I started at RT, I was in a presentation workshop. This was literally my second day on the job.  I had to give a presentation on something I was passionate about.  Did I try to save face and talk about fashion or TV shows?  No.  Did I talk about my eerie 13 year addiction to Chapstick?  Not even.

I talked about my love for cheese.  And if that presentation environment was a social network, I would have lost a lot of followers.  Because, really, who is psychotically obsessed with cheese? And then presents to her new colleagues about her love for cheese?  Weird-O.

Now, though I do love cheese, I am not a cheese connoisseur.  I don’t discriminate against cheeses.  I’ll take Gouda, Velveeta, Chihuahua, Provel, Brie, Goat Cheese and Havarti any day, any time.  I can’t say I have a favorite cheese.  But I have some two top selections: Brie and Provel.

Since most people have tried or at least know of Brie, I will save you the monotony.  Provel, on the other hand, is a cheese created in St Louis, and not many people know about it.

Provel is a white processed cheese, produced from cheddar, provolone and Swiss cheeses.  From Post-Dispatch food critic Joe Bonwich:

Provel was invented specifically for St. Louis-style pizza more than a half-century ago by the downtown firm Costa Grocery (now Roma Grocery on the Hill, a primarily Italian St. Louis neighborhood), in collaboration with the Hoffman dairy company of Wisconsin (now part of Kraft Foods). Bonwich states that Provel was developed to meet perceived demand for a pizza cheese with a “clean bite”: one that melts well but breaks off nicely when bitten. Neither of Bonwich’s sources at Kraft and Roma had a definitive answer for the origin of the name although one popular theory is that it is a combination of the words provolone and mozzarella, two of the cheeses for which it is substituted.

And more from the Provel Wikipedia entry:

The trademark on the Provel name, first used in 1947, is currently held by the Churny Company, Inc. of Glenview, Illinois. Churny is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kraft Foods.

Provel is usually found on St Louis-style pizza.  Obviously, I am a huge fan of this type of pizza, being brought up on it in the north suburbs of St Louis.  I am an advocate for thin crust, Provel-covered pizza.  (Salivating right now.) Imo’s, the “square beyond compare”, is a definite favorite.  Anytime we had pizza night growing up, Imo’s was the place that delivered.  And it’s not just the pizza at Imo’s – it’s the salad with scrumptious house dressing and their cheese garlic bread wrapped in foil.   Of course, even though I didn’t grow up ordering Cecil Whittaker’s or Elicia’s, I’ll nod my hat to them.

You can order Imo’s products and ship them anywhere in the continental US.  Pretty sweet.  They have locations all throughout Missouri, one in Kansas and a good handful in Illinois.

So some haters people may not share my affinity for the thin cracker crust pizza and the Provel cheese, but that’s okay.

I’ll nom nom nom on thin crust pizza with melted Provel all I want, due in part to my St Louis pride and my love of all things cheesy.

Honestly, I cannot be the only person with a strange obsession and love for a food product, right?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. alexmkerlick permalink*
    May 4, 2009 12:26 pm

    I heart Imo’s.

  2. katie permalink
    May 5, 2009 11:32 am

    I had IMOs last night – it was AMAZING!

  3. Stacy permalink
    May 7, 2009 5:18 pm

    I must say I also adore cheese. And long for the day that we learn it is the healthiest and least fattening of all the options out there. Pretty cool that Cabot makes a low-fat cheddar that actually tastes better than full-fat. You must try.

  4. Crystal permalink*
    August 12, 2009 9:57 pm

    Imo’s rules. Terrific post. And a good resource for the uncultured, unsophisticated pizza palates that just don’t know.

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