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Grana Padano cheese has a long and noble history: originally made by the Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle way back in the 12th century, it is now produced across five Italian regions and 13 provinces, from Veneto to Piedmont and from Emilia-Romagna to Trentino. A hard cheese made from unpasteurised cow’s milk with a fat content of 39-41 per cent, the name comes from its grainy (grano) texture and the original production area of Pianura Padana (the Po Valley). In 1996 it was granted PDO (Product of Designated Origin) accreditation, so look out for the logo: it is the mark of quality and provenance that ensures the genuine article. Pale golden and smooth, the texture is solid but yielding and finely grained; when cut with a knife it should crumble into slivers. It comes in three vintages: 9-16 months; over 16 months; and aged Riserva, from 20 to upwards of 24 months. It is in the same family as Parmigiano Reggiano with a delicious umami hit, and a lower price, so if that is the style of cheese that whets your appetite, give Grana Padano a try.


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Feb 2019

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