The production of Grana Padano takes place in the Region of Piemonte, in the provinces of Alessandria, Asti, Biella, Cuneo, Novara, Torino, Verbania, Vercelli; in the region of Lombardia in the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Mantova, Milano, Monza, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese; in the region of Trentino alto Adige in the provinces of Trento and Bolzano; in the region of Veneto in the provinces of Padova, Rovigo, Treviso, Venezia, Verona, Vicenza; and then in the region of Emilia Romagna in the provinces of Bologna, Ferrara, Forlì Cesena, Piacenza, Ravenna and Rimini.
Grana Padano is a PDO cheese produced throughout the year with semi-skimmed raw cow's milk. It is a cooked cheese, hard and slow aging.
It is produced from raw cow's milk from cows milked twice a day, whose basic diet consists of green fodder.
Raw milk, stored in the barn and from there transported to the dairy, must not have undergone any physical, mechanical neither thermal treatment that could change the status of the natural raw milk.
The cheese Grana Padano was awarded the Protected Designation Origin status (PDO) by the European Union in 1996 Only to cheese that meets all the requirements established in the Product Specification and have completed at least eight months is affixed to focus the mark of Grana Padano PDO. However, this cheese may not be sold before the actual completion of the ninth month of age.
Grated Grana Padano PDO is made exclusively from whole cheese already certified.
The grating must be done in a defined production territory.
The packaging must take place immediately, without any other process or addition of other substances.
On the crust of Grana Padano PDO, as well as on the packaging, it is possible to read how long it has been the ageing time.
The categories provided in the Regulations are three:
-“Grana Padano DOP”, in English PDO
-“Grana Padano oltre 16 mesi”, over 16 ageing months
-“Grana Padano Riserva - oltre 20 mesi” over 20 ageing months
Grana Padano has a cylindrical form, with a diameter between 35 and 45 cm and a height between 18 and 25 cm. Each form weighs between 24 and 40 kg
With the aim of protecting all the steps needed to produce Grana Padano, as they are indicated in the Production Guidelines, to achieve the high quality of all forms, in 1954 the Grana Padano Protection Consortium, called in Italian Consorzio tutela grana Padano, was founded.
This consortium brings together 130 producers, 153 seasoners, 132 authorised facilities for portioning Grana Padano PDO and 31 facilities for packaging grated Grana Padano PDO cheese.
The production of this hard cheese began in the Middle-aged.
In 1135 the Cistercian monks founded the Chiaravalle Abbey, an abbey located not far from the south walls of Milan, in an area which was marshy.
The monks reclaimed that area in the Po river plain and started cultivating crops and rearing livestock. Very soon they got a surplus of milk, and they needed to find a way to preserve that milk for longer periods, not to waste one of the most nutritious food that was available at that time.
It was in this situation that has been produced the cheese called by the monks with the Latin name “caseus vetus”, that means “old cheese”. This cheese was later called “grana” cheese, due to its granular structure.
The cheese produced in the Po river plain became increasingly very popular, a cheese with two souls: an important ingredient in the elaborate recipes of the aristocratic cuisine and the basis of the popular gastronomic tradition.
On the 1st of June 1951 in Stresa, a nice little town in front of the Lake Maggiore, took place a meeting of workers and technicians of the European cheese-making industry. During this meeting the experts distinguish two different types of the cheese called “Grana Lodigiano”: they have been identified as “Grana Padano” and “Parmigiano Reggiano”.