Grana Padano Cheese
Grana Padano is a hard, aged, semi-fat Italian cheese produced in the Northern part of the country in the Po River valley. The production area includes the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, parts of Emilia-Romagna, and Trento.
The name ‘grana’ refers to the typical granulous texture of the cheese, while Padano related to the production area.
Cheese Production Process
Grana Padano is made from unpasteurized, semi-skimmed cow’s milk.
The cows are milked twice a day and both milk, the one collected in the evening and in the morning, are blended. The milk is then left to rest before it is partially skimmed resulting in a cheese with lower fat content than other grating cheeses.
The partly-skimmed milk is curdled in copper kettles, before the curd is cut to produce granules which are what gives the cheese its characteristic granulous and crumbly texture.
The curd is then heated to 53–56 °C (125–133 °F), molded, immerged in brine before ageing in cellar.
See how Grana Padano Cheese is Made in the Video below:
Grana Padano Vintages
The cheese is made following strict rules of production that guarantee its provenance and its quality, from how the mill is produces to how the cheese is made.
These are strictly controlled and regulated by the cheese’ regulatory body called the Consorzio Grana Padano.
The increasing ageing levels of Grana Padano are also standard so you always know what you’re buy and what taste to expect, let’s run through and detail them:
Grana Padano 9 Mesi:
This is the youngest (as in lesser aged) Grana Padano, aged at least 9 months, and no more than 16. It is lighter in flavor, and not crumbly, but rather creamier with an elastic texture. Its flavors are soft and creamy, tasting like field flowers and delicate butter. A wine that matches elegant wines such as crisp whites or the Costaripa Rosamara Rosé (see below).
Grana Padano Oltre 16 Mesi:
So, this is aged at least 16 months, and no more than 24. Its texture starts to get quite crumbly from the ageing, we enter the world of grating cheeses. It’s got more acidity than the 9-month-old, and more herbal and lactic flavors. It also melts in your mouth more easily, coating your palate with delicious yet still subtle nutty and cheesy tastes.
Grana Padano Riserva:
Aged for a minimum of 24 months, or two years, it has stronger flavors, and crystals of tyrosine (a protein component) are present make it a little crunchy. More animal notes, more cooked and nutty flavors, increased savoriness, oilier texture and much longer in taste.
— Julien Miquel #Wine (@JMiquelWine) June 6, 2017
Pairing Grana Padano Cheese & Wine
Explore below our articles on matching Grana Padano Cheese with wine: