Grana Padano: Everything You Need To Know

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Why You Should Be Eating More Grana Padano

Grana padano

Each cuisine has its charm, and it has flavours and ingredients that are unique to that region. If you’re a foodie, you’ll know that your food journey is incomplete without having tried most of these items.

Cheese is one such ingredient that is widely used all over the world in a range of cuisines. You can find it used in Indian food, Italian, French, and Asian too.

However, cheese is predominantly a French and Italian ingredient and features most heavily in these cuisines.

Although there are many varieties of Italian cheese, there are some that reign supreme. Parmesan is one such cheese widely loved globally. Others are Pecorino and Burrata .

Another incredibly delicious cheese is Grana Padano. Grana Padano is a delightful cheese with rich, nutty undertones that you’ll love.

If you’re a cheese connoisseur, you can’t go by without tasting and learning more about this cheese. So, if you’re interested in learning what is Grana Padano, keep reading below.

What is Grana Padano?

cheese and pasta

Grana Padano is an indulgent Italian cheese originating from the Po river in the north. The cheese is incredibly similar to parmesan and has a full-bodied taste that you’ll fall in love with.

It is also just as dense as parmesan and has a slightly flaky texture, making it perfect for adding to any meal you like.

Grana Padano is a cheese with a history just as rich as its taste. Historians speculate that the cheese was first made by Cistercian monks many centuries ago.

The cheese has a robust taste without ever being overpowering, and it leaves a deliciously mild aftertaste. You can pair it with various other ingredients or enjoy the spectacular taste on your own.

How is Grana Padano made?

Making such a succulent cheese is an incredibly painstaking process. Even the slightest mistake can change the texture and taste entirely and give you a defective product.

Italian Cheese-making artisans use only milk from free-range cows that graze on fresh grass and foliage to make Grana Padano cheese. The fresh diet these cows consume plays a vital role in giving the cheese an added freshness.

Once they have collected the milk, the cheese-makers pour it into fresh cauldrons with rennet and whey. These two ingredients help form cheese curds which later harden into cheese wheels.

Then, once the curds start forming, the cheese needs to be temperature treated to further stimulate the bacteria in the milk. After this, the cheese curds are transferred to a wheel-shaped mould soaked in brine.

This begins the salting process, and the cheese curds are pressed into the salted mould and left for two weeks. After the salting process finishes, the ageing process begins.

The ageing period for Grana Padano is at least nine months, and the artisans need to leave the cheese wheels in an optimal environment for perfect ageing.

After the ageing period is over, experts examine the cheese to determine whether it has the perfect taste, texture, smell, and appearance. If everything is in the clear, the cheese is ready to hit the markets.

Substitutes for Grana Padano

Parmesan

The most obvious substitute for Grana Padano is parmesan. Parmesan cheese is a more expensive, slightly more refined version of Grana Padano, so the flavors are so similar.

Parmesan has a similar nutty, decadent, slightly rich flavor profile that can mimic Grana Padano’s taste very well. Furthermore, the textures are more or less similar too, and parmesan can be just as flaky as Grana Padano.

chunks of grana padano

Pecorino Romano

Another substitute for Grana Padano cheese is pecorino romano. Pecorino romano is super different from Grana Padano in the making process, but the taste is somewhat similar.

Pecorino romano traditionally features sheep’s milk and has a sharper, saltier taste than Grana Padano. However, if you use fewer amounts for the same recipe, you can mimic the taste of grana Padano.

pecorino

Asiago

Another substitute you can use for grana Padano is aged asiago cheese. Asiago has a nutty yet creamy taste which can mimic grana Padano pretty well.

So, if you don’t have grana Padano on hand, you can easily use any one of these cheeses in varying quantities to achieve a similar taste.

Flavour combinations/pairings

If you’re a natural food connoisseur, you’ll want to pair grana Padano with the right ingredients to make the flavour notes shine. Below, we’ll talk more about some of the best flavour combinations with this decadent cheese.

Charcuterie board

charcuterie board

One of the best ways to use Grana Padano vegetarian is with a cheeseboard. Here, you get the opportunity to use it with a host of flavours that go incredibly well with it.

Grana Padano pairs incredibly well with prosciutto, for starters, and it can help make a mouthwatering combination. The salty, creamy texture and taste of Grana Padano is the perfect complement to prosciutto.

Furthermore, you can add grapes, olives, crackers, and more mildly flavoured cheeses to your charcuterie board to complete it. Grana Padano goes superbly well with all of these ingredients.

Honey

cheese and honey

Honey and cheese is truly a match made in heaven. Grana Padano, much like all other cheeses, goes super well with honey.

It is a sweet and savoury combination that’ll tickle your taste buds and transport you straight to an Italian vineyard. Since grana Padano is a stronger-tasting cheese with a more extended ageing period, it pairs well with stronger-tasting honey.

If your grana Padano has been aged for 9-12 months, you can pair it with acacia honey, asphodel honey, and citrus honey. If it has a more extended ageing period of up to 16 months, you can pair it with rhododendron honey, eucalyptus honey, and sunflower honey.

If your type of honey is even older than 16 months, you can opt for darker, more robust honey-like cherry honey, chestnut honey, heather honey, and dandelion honey.

Wine

Much like honey and cheese, wine and cheese is also a classic combination. Wine can help elevate the taste of cheese unlike any other and highlight the cheese’s complexities.

If your wine has a shorter aging period, it pairs better with more acidic wines, with a rounded taste. Furthermore, the fruity aromas in such wines can help highlight the nutty, caramel undertones in the cheese.

However, extra mature Grana Padano pairs incredibly well with lavish, indulgent, aged wines that perfectly complement the cheese. These rich wines can make having the cheese alone a delight and give you the perfect experience.

Where to buy

You can easily find Grana Padano in big supermarkets or Italian deli stores. Furthermore, you can easily shop for it online and find a variety of aged cheeses.

grana padano salad

FAQs

Can I substitute Parmesan for Grana Padano?

Yes, you can use parmesan as a substitute for Grana Padano. Both kinds of cheese have a similar nutty, creamy, fruity, complex taste with caramel undertones.

Furthermore, both cheese also has a similar flaky yet creamy texture that can enhance any dish exponentially. There are just slight differences in texture, but the result won’t be too different at all.

So, if you don’t have grana Padano on hand, you can use parmesan.

Is Grana Padano a DOP?

When getting a high-quality cheese, you want to ensure that it is only of the highest quality. Without a quality certification, you may end up investing in an average product that doesn’t give you a good taste.

A cheese with a DOP certification is indeed always a quality product. The DOP stands for Protected Designation of Origin.

It certifies that the milk and cheese are produced from a specific location. Furthermore, it also affirms that the cheese-makers only use the most traditional, authentic methods to manufacture the cheese.

The DOP designation thus ensures that you get a high-quality product.

What is Grana Padano used for?

You can enjoy grana Padano in various ways. You can mix it into other, milder cheeses to create a new, richer taste.

This combination can go exceptionally well on your cheese boards or as a cheese dip. Furthermore, you can sweeten it up and enjoy it with honey as a mind-blowing, elegant dessert you won’t forget.

Is Grana Padano the same as parmesan?

Grana Padano isn’t the same as parmesan, but it is pretty similar. It has the same nutty, caramel, butterscotch undertones that makes parmesan such a delicious cheese.

armesan is slightly more expensive than Grana Padano, and it has a slightly stronger taste.

How do you eat Grana Padano?

You can eat grana Padano any way you like. You can have it on its own or mix it into cheese dips for a truly memorable culinary experience.

You can add it to burgers, tacos, or wraps if you want an elevated taste, or you can pair it with pasta. Grana Padano can be a delicious addition to Bolognese or carbonara.

How long can you keep Grana Padano?

If you keep your cheese in the fridge, it can last around 1-2 months before it starts to go wrong. However, if you freeze your cheese, it can survive a much longer time.

Frozen Grana Padano can last you up to 8 months without the flavor being affected at all.

Conclusion

The exciting thing about cheese is that there’s always a new, incredibly delicious variety out there for you to discover. Grana Padano is one such cheese variety that you need to experience if you consider yourself a true foodie.

It has a vibrant history and an even richer taste. Furthermore, it is an incredibly versatile cheese that you can use in various ways.

It can brighten up anything you add it to and make your meal times so much more indulgent.

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Andy Canter

Andy

Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best! 

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