Grana Padano

Grana Padano
Country of origin Italy
Region, town

province of Piacenza

provinces of Bergamo, Brescia Cremona, Lodi, Mantua (to the left of the Po), Milan and Pavia

province of Cuneo

province of Trentino

province of Padua, Verona
Vicenza, Rovigo and Treviso,

In addition to these main centres
production is permitted in Emilia Romagna: province of Bologna
(to the right of the Reno), Ferrara, Ravenna, Forlì-Cesena. and Rimini
Lombardy: provinces of Como,
Lecco, Sondrio and Varese
Piedmont: provinces of Alessandria,
Asti, Biella, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola,
Novara, Turin and Vercelli

Veneto: province of Venice
Source of milk Cows
Pasteurised No
Texture Hard
Aging time 8–20 months
Certification Italy: DOC 1955
EU: PDO 1996
Derivatives {{{derivatives}}}
Related media on Wikimedia Commons

Grana Padano (Italian pronunciation: [ˈɡraːna paˈdaːno]) is a hard, slow-ripened, semi-fat cheese from Italy, comparable to Parmigiano Reggiano ("Parmesan"). Grana Padano has had protected designation of origin status since 1996.[1] It is made from cows' milk produced in the Po River valley.[2]

Origin of the name

The name comes from the Italian word grana, a reference to the characteristically grainy texture, and the demonym padano, referring to (cheese from) the Po Valley area of northern Italy.


Grana Padano is one of the world's first hard cheeses, created nearly 900 years ago by the Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle Abbey, founded in 1135 near Milan[1] By the year 1477, it was regarded as one of the most famous cheeses of Italy. It can last a long time without spoiling, sometimes aging up to two years. It is made in a similar way to the Parmigiano Reggiano of Emilia-Romagna but over a much wider area and with different regulations and controls.[1]

Some of the producers operate large operations. The herd produces capacious quantities of cow manure, and a byproduct is the Shit Museum, which promotes eco-friendly recycling.[3]

Production process

Like Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano is a semi-fat hard cheese which is cooked and ripened slowly for at least nine months. If it passes quality tests, it is fire-branded with the Grana Padano trademark. The cows are milked twice a day, the milk is left to stand, and then partially skimmed. Milk produced in the evening is skimmed to remove the surface layer of cream and mixed with fresh milk produced in the morning. The partly skimmed milk is transferred into copper kettles and coagulated; the resulting curd is cut to produce granules with the size of rice grains, which gives the cheese its characteristic texture, and then warmed to 53–56 °C (127–133 °F). It is produced year-round and the quality can vary seasonally as well as by year. Though similar to Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, the younger Grana Padano cheeses are less crumbly, milder and less complex in flavor than their better known, longer-aged relative.[1]

On an annual basis, the Grana Padano consortium exports 750 million (£570 million) of their product.[4]


A wheel of Grana Padano is cylindrical, with slightly convex or almost straight sides and flat faces. It measures 35 to 45 cm (14 to 18 in) in diameter, and 15 to 18 cm (5.9 to 7.1 in) in height. It weighs 24 to 40 kg (53 to 88 lbs) per wheel. The rind, which is thin, is pale yellow.[1]

Grana Padano is sold in three different ripening stages:[5]

  • "Grana Padano" (9 to 16 months): texture still creamy, only slightly grainy
  • "Grana Padano oltre 16 mesi" (over 16 months): crumblier texture, more pronounced taste
  • "Grana Padano Riserva" (over 20 months): grainy, crumbly and full flavoured

Grana padano cheese typically contains cheese crystals, semi-solid to gritty crystalline spots that at least partially consist of the amino acid tyrosine.


In May, 2016, the Grana Padano consortium filed a legal action against the producers of the U.S. television soap opera series The Bold and the Beautiful for a scene wherein it was claimed the product was disparaged.[4]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Grana Padano -". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  2. "Know your Italian cheeses: Grana Padano vs. Parmigiana-Reggiano". New York Daily News. September 11, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  3. Anderson, John (August 31, 2015). "The Shit Museum offers a sustainable view on the science and art of dung". Gizmag. New Atlas. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  4. 1 2 Vogt, Andrea (24 May 2016). "Italian Grana Padano producers sue US soap opera over scene inferring it's a poor man's Parmesan". Daily Telegraph. Bologna. Retrieved 10 September 2016.}
  5. Gillingham, Sara Kate (October 8, 2008). "A Primer on Grana Padano". Retrieved September 10, 2016.
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