#22 – Grana

Grana cheese facts:

  • In Europe, the word “Grana” is legally protected by Grana Padano Protected Designation of Origin, such that only Grana Padano can use the term to sell its produce in EU countries
  • Grana refer to a family of hard, mature cheeses from Italy that have a granular, flaky texture and are mainly used for grating.
  • It is produced all along the Po Valley, from Lombardia to the Veneto and into Trentino Alto Adige, where it is called Grana Trentino.
  • Its origins date to around the 11th century, when Cistercian monks from the Chiaravalle Abbey near Milan began to drain the surrounding swamp land to use for agriculture and cultivation. Cattle farms appeared on this newly available, very fertile pastureland. These pastures provided exceptional quantities of new forage for the cattle, and soon the many cattle were producing much more milk than could be used on a daily basis. The farmers needed some way of utilizing or preserving the milk that was not immediately consumed. The monks happened upon a method of turning the perishable milk into a hard rind cheese that actually improved with a long period of aging.
  • After aging, the cheese has a dark yellow or golden brown rind which is hard, smooth and thick.
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