Grana Padano Cheese is a slow-ripened, semi-fat cheese prepared from unpasteurized cow's milk. It originated in the Po River Valley in Northerneastern Italy and can be made within this certain region only. Those regions are enormous ranging from Lombardy on the northwest coast to the Veneto on the northeast coast. Grana means “grainy” in Italian that reflects its fine granular texture, resulting from amino acid crystals. The demonym "Padano" refers to cheese from Padania. It has hard, crumbly, slightly grainy texture with thin, pale yellow rind covering fragrant, dry, flaking interior. The rind becomes firm, thick and dark to natural golden-yellow colour as it matures. The milk used for the preparation of grana padano cheese is skimmed through a natural creaming process. The cheese takes about 8-20 months to age. It is manufactured in cylindrical wheels that are 35 to 45 cm in diameter, and 15 to 18 cm in height. It is considered as a good melting cheese for cooking.
Look for Grana Padano cheese with hard, gritty texture. Grana padano cheese is available at different ripening stages: Grana Padano (9 to 16 months), Grana Padano oltre 16 mesi (over 16 months) and Grana Padano Riserva (over 20 months). Go for cheese which is atleast 12 months aged for a good taste. Also, check for the "Use-by" date on the packaging of the cheese.
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