St. Louis's Favorite Processed Cheese Is Now an Ice Pop
If you’ve never lived in St. Louis (unlike yours truly who was blessed enough to be born there), you probably don’t know that raviolis are best served toasted (even though they are actually deep-fried) and pizza should be cracker thin and cut into small squares (even though, yes, the pizza is still round). On the latter, Provel cheese is a must. A product the rest of the world seems to have forgotten on purpose, Provel is a processed cheese billed as a mix of cheddar, Swiss and provolone—though it manages to keep the best qualities of none of the three. Instead, it’s a bit like a white Velveeta—meaning all the rubberiness without any of the flavor.
And yet, by unwritten rule, all true St. Louisans (meaning yours truly) must have an affection for Provel (if only for its quirkiness). Need proof? A couple of Sundays ago, the St. Louis-based "artisan ice pops since 2012" brand Poptimism by Whisk unleased a Provel popsicle on the world. And by the world, I mean, St, Louis… possibly because no other city would take it.
"INTRODUCING: your new favorite pop," Poptimism wrote on Instagram. "Or maybe your least favorite pop. Either way - you NEED to try it. That’s right - PROVEL. We’ll have them tomorrow at the @stlsquareoff and next week in the shop and at our @tgfarmersmarket appearances." Those events are long since gone… and so were the Provel popsicles… briefly.
But it turns out you can’t keep a good processed cheese popsicle down. Over the weekend, Poptimism returned to social media with a message for the world… this time, literally. "Hey everyone," their follow-up post began, "we were not prepared for the avalanche of morbid curiosity that the provel pops brought on - I’m so sorry if you hunted for one today and came up empty handed. We’ll be working late tonight to have a TON more tomorrow…. Guess this is what happens when you go viral!"
Okay, but wait… Is all the excitement around these pops really just "morbid curiosity"? Or are they genuinely worth trying? There’s certainly reason to believe the latter—especially if you’re willing to take Poptimism’s word for it. "Honestly? It’s way better than you’d think," the artisan pop brand explains. "We made a provel ice cream base and added some honey, which created a cheesecake-like pop that tastes like home."
Having eaten plenty of Provel in my life, I can honestly say that everything that’s wrong with Provel could be oh-so-right in popsicle form. It’s both mild and resilient, meaning with a bit of honey, I could totally see this working as a cheesecake on a stick you could enjoy sucking away at.
Or maybe they just suck. "Tried one last weekend," wrote on Instagram commenter. "It was definitely different. Might need a second one to decide if I like it." To be fair, that statement could apply to St. Louis as a whole. Go Cards!