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 relates 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 partialy-skimmed milk is curdled in copper kettles, before the broken to the size of rice grains which is 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 ageing warehouses.
See how Grana Padano Cheese is Made in the Video below:
Grana Padano Vintages
The cheese is made following production specifications rules of production that guarantee its provenance and its quality, from how the milk is produced to how the cheese is made.
These are strictly controlled and regulated by the cheese’ Protection Sonsortium called the Consorzio Tutela 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 9-16 Mesi (9 to 16 months):
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 20. 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 Oltre 20 Mesi:
Aged for a minimum of 20 to over 24 months, or two years, it has stronger flavors, and crystals of tyrosine (a protein component) are present making it a little crunchy. More animal notes, more cooked and nutty flavors, increased savoriness, oilier texture and much longer in taste.
Column content goes here.
Pairing Grana Padano Cheese & Wine
Explore below our articles on matching Grana Padano Cheese with wine: