Grana Padano DOP
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Grana Padano DOP is a semi-skimmed hard and fine-grained cheese from raw cow’s milk which is cooked and ripened slowly for at least nine months. It is lactose-free due to its production characteristics and long ageing. It is also gluten-free.
Grana Padano DOP can only be produced in the Po River Valley (Pianura Padana) in Nothern Italy in the following regions: Piedmont, Trentino Alto Adige, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto. The distinctive yellow logo of Grana Padano must feature on all packages of grated and portioned cheese, thus guaranteeing the consumer that the product is the real Grana Padano DOP.
Facts About the Cheese
The colour of Grana Padano can range from white to straw yellow, getting deeper as the ageing progresses. Has a grainy texture. It has Calcium crystals that are tiny white spots that feel “gritty” when tasting the cheese. It also has Tyrosine crystals that is round whitish spots with a slightly bitter taste. It breaks into small chunks easily. Maturation makes these characteristics more pronounced.
The aromas are mainly emanate milk and cream. With maturation, the aromas become more complex and harmonious. The dominant aromas in Grana Padano Reserve are aromas of dry grass, butter, nuts and a hint of beef stock.
A delicate fruity flavor; While the taste of Grana Padano PDO aged up to 16 months is dominated by sweetness, in cheese aged for more than 20 months its savouriness/pungency becomes more perceptible.
It can be grated onto pasta or rice, or used in sauces, dressings or soups instead of salt. Grana Padano is ideal as a healthy snack, in small chunks of 10/15 grammes, together with some fruit and a little bread, preferably wholemeal.
Tasting notes varies based on the different degrees of maturation of the cheese:
- 9- 16 months – Soft textured, pale straw-coloured cheese, which hasn’t yet acquired the grainy structure typical of Grana Padano. It has a delicate taste with a remarkable milky flavour. Ideal as a table cheese. Excellent when grated. Highly versatile, ideal for eating regularly and everyday cooking.
- 16-20 months – Marked straw-coloured, grainy texture with evidence of calcium lactate crystals and flaky structure.It is tasty but not overpowering, with an aroma of hay and dried fruit. It makes an excellent table cheese. Ideal for grating. Perfect for the enthusiastic cooks who are always looking for that elusive “magic touch”.
- Over 20 months (Grana Padano PDO Riserva) – Intense, uniform straw-coloured cheese, with a clear grainy texture, a marked presence of calcium lactate crystals and a flaky structure. It is rich, full in flavour, yet never overpowering. The taste is both fragrant and delicate at the same time, with notes of butter, hay and dried fruit. Superb both as a table and grated cheese. Ideal for feasts and special occasions. The cheese of choice for true connoisseurs.
Pair Me With
Grana Padano DOP is the cheese for the healthy nutrition of the whole family, even in lactose-free diets and is considered an excellent food to include in a varied, correct and balanced daily diet. A 50g portion of the cheese provides 196 calories, but it also contains many important nutrients that are not easily found in other foods with the same calories.
Grana Padano DOP is great as a table cheese; Enjoy it in small chunks of 10/15 grammes, together with some fruit and a little bread, preferably wholemeal. It is also a key ingredient of many traditional Italian recipes. It is perfect grated on pasta or rice. It can be used in sauces, dressings or soups instead of salt.
Grana Padano is best stored in a fridge kept at around 4° C (39° F). Do not store alongside other strong-flavoured cheeses as this may compromise the integrity. To prevent the texture from drying out. wrap in a moist, clean cotton or hemp cloth . The cloth must be devoid of detergents’ odours. Alternatively, you can opt for a good quality plastic freezer bag.
About 5164759 cheese wheels, measuring 35 to 45 cm in diameter and 15 to 18 cm in height, were produced in 2019.
The two words of “Grana” and “Padano” embody the entire history of Grana Padano, dating all the way back to its original roots in 12th century where Cistercian monks in monasteries of the historical Chiaravalle Abbey came up with the idea of cooking the milk for a long time, adding some rennet and then salting the resulting cheese. This produced the hard cheese we know today. Due to its long ripening process, the monks called this new cheese "caseus vetus" or "old cheese”, however, the people of the countryside, unfamiliar with Latin, favoured the name “grana” due to its white grainy texture, the small calcium crystals which remained of the processed milk. "Padano" from the production area in the "Pianura Padana" which is the Po River Valley in northern Italy.
About the Consortium
The great cultural, historical, socio-economical heritage Grana Padano obtained during its long history, deserved to be recognized, supported and protected. The Grana Padano Protection Consortium was officially established with the Statute created and registered in Lodi on June 18th 1954 to protect and promote Grana Padano and its reputation worldwide.
On April 24th 2002, a decree by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry formally acknowledged the Consortium’s role in preserving Grana Padano and its Protected Designation of Origin (in Italian, Denominazione di Origine Protetta or DOP) status; in promoting it, supporting its development and taking care of its interests and in providing correct information to the public.
Written by Taste - True Italian Taste Project