Grana Padano, granted DOP on 12 June 1996, is one of the few kinds of cheese that can possibly compete with the King of Cheeses; Parmigiano-Reggiano. Created by the Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle in the 12 century, it is still made throughout the Po River Valley in northeastern Italy.
The cheese is made from unpasteurized, semi-skimmed cow’s milk from two milkings and generally aged for two years. At the end of the cheese-making process, Grana Padano develops a firm, thick, and deeply straw-colored rind protecting the fragrant, dry, flaking interior. means “grainy” in Italian which is reflected in the fine granular texture with an intensely sweet flavor. As Grana Padano ages, the flavors become pronounced, savory and complex and the texture becomes more crumbly.
Though similar to Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano is less expensive because areas producing the cheese are bigger. Moreover, Grana is less crumbly, milder and less complex than its long-aged sibling.