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Grana Padano is a cheese originating in the Po River Valley in northern Italy that has similar characteristics to Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, but with fewer regulations. This hard, crumbly textured cheese is made with unpasturized cow milk that's semi-skimmed through a natural creaming process. To preserve the authenticity of the manufacturing processes and raw materials used to make this cheese, the European Union law has protected the name Grana Padano under the protected designation of origin since 1996 (PDO).
|Country of origin||Italy|
province of Piacenza
In addition to these main centres
|Source of milk||Cows|
|Aging time||8–20 months|
|Certification||Italy: DOC 1955|
EU: PDO 1996
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
Origin of the nameEdit
Grana Padano was developed by monks of Chiaravalle Abbey in the 12th century. It can last a long time without spoiling, sometimes aging up to two years. It is made in a similar way to the Parmigiano Reggiano of Emilia-Romagna but over a much wider area and with different regulations and controls.
Like Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano is a semi-fat hard cheese which is cooked and ripened slowly for at least nine months. If it passes quality tests, it is fire-branded with the Grana Padano trademark. The cows are milked twice a day, the milk is left to stand, and then partially skimmed. Milk produced in the evening is skimmed to remove the surface layer of cream and mixed with fresh milk produced in the morning. The partly skimmed milk is transferred into copper kettles and coagulated; the resulting curd is cut to produce granules with the size of rice grains, which gives the cheese its characteristic texture, and then warmed to 53–56 °C (127–133 °F). It is produced year-round and the quality can vary seasonally as well as by year. Though similar to Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, the younger Grana Padano cheeses are less crumbly, milder and less complex in flavor than their better known, longer-aged relative.
There are about 150 factories that make Grana Padano in the region of Po River Valley and an estimate of 4.5 million cheese are manufactured.
A wheel of Grana Padano is cylindrical, with slightly convex or almost straight sides and flat faces. It measures 35 to 45 cm (14 to 18 in) in diameter, and 15 to 18 cm (5.9 to 7.1 in) in height. It weighs 24 to 40 kg (53 to 88 lbs) per wheel. The rind, which is thin, is pale yellow.
Grana Padano is sold in three different ripening stages:
- "Grana Padano" (9 to 16 months): texture still creamy, only slightly grainy
- "Grana Padano oltre 16 mesi" (over 16 months): crumblier texture, more pronounced taste
- "Grana Padano Riserva" (over 20 months): grainy, crumbly and full flavoured
In May, 2016, the Grana Padano consortium filed a legal action against the producers of the U.S. television soap opera series The Bold and the Beautiful for a scene wherein it was claimed the product was disparaged.
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