The most recent Martha Stewart Living magazine section, “Ask Martha,” included a question from Becca Schlafer in Louisville, Kentucky, asking, “What is Provel cheese?” Martha answered:
This processed cheese, a blend of cheddar, Swiss, and provolone, is a specialty of Saint Louis and gives pizza in that Midwestern city its distinct flavor. According to the Churny Company, a division of Kraft that holds the patent for the cheese, it was developed in the early 1960s at Imo’s Pizza, a Saint Louis chain, for use on its thin-crust pizza.
Being processed, the cheese is “creamier and melts faster than mozzarella,” says Toni Ribaudo of Di Gregorio’s Market, in Saint Louis. The three-cheese blend imparts a flavor similar to that of fontina. The iconic local food may be an acquired taste for visitors, but ex-Missourians pine for it. “I ship it by the loaf to California, to Chicago,” Ribaudo says. “People move away, and they miss it.”
Imo’s’ bit can be seen in the July 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living, on pages 79-80. Great question, Becca!