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WineCountry.it: All you want to know about Italian wine: WineCountry.it Article

Grana Padano DOP
e Grana Trentino DOP
Loris Scagliarini - January 1, 2009



Introduction
Here we continue our presentation of Italy's 155 products of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO, or, in Italian, DOP, Denominazione di Origine Protetta) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI, or IGP in Italian, Indicazione Geografica Protetta).

This month we present two DOP cheeses produced in the North of Italy: the well known Grana Padano DOP, a cheese appreciated by gourmands worldwide, and the less known, though not less savory, the Grana Trentino DOP, produced in the province of Trento exclusively.


Grana Padano DOP (Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Trentino)
Protected Designations of Origin: June 12, 1996

Grana Padano DOP

The oldest known reference to a semi-fat, hard-structured, cooked cheese which could be aged well and lasted long time, dates back to about the year 1000. By the year 1300 the cheese by then named Grana was known and appreciated outside the geographical boundaries of the Pianura Padana, or Padana Plain. Originally, this cheese was created because of the need to extend the life of dairy products.

Currently the Grana Padano DOP is among the best known and appreciated cheeses worldwide. The Grana produced in the province of Trento is marketed under the Grana Trentino DOP brand.

Grana Padano DOP

Characteristics of the Product
The Grana Padano DOP is made with milk from two milkings, letting the first rest a few hours in order to partially skim it.

The preparation starts in large copper cauldrons with the addition of natural serum, to end about 18 months later, at the end of the maturation period. Only then, and only after accurate examination, each wheel is fire branded with the rhomboid logos which identify and guarantee the Grana Padano DOP cheese.

The final branding which guarantees every single wheel of perfectly ripened cheese, is added to the shamrock-shaped brand which identifies the cheese slowly aging into shape to become Grana. In addition, to fight the various reproduction attempts, in 1984 the Consorzio Grana Padano (Consortium of the Grana Padano) introduced a third branding, reproduced continuously around the wheel circumference.

The main nutritional characteristics of the Grana Padano DOP consist in low fat content, which is limited to 30%, the protein content and the calcium, found in the form of calcium lactate. The wheels are fairly large and heavy, with diameters ranging from 35 to 45 centimeters (13.8 to 17.7 inches), height from 20 to 25 centimeters (7.87 to 9.84 inches), and weighs in at 24 to 40 kilos (52.91 to 88.18 pounds).

Apart from the branding, the rind is hard and smooth, is between 4 and 8 millimeters (0.15 to 0.30 inches) thick and the color is dark yellow. Inside, the structure is grainy and tends to flake when slicing it.

Grana Padano DOP

Use and Wine Pairing
In addition to its traditional use, grated over pasta or other dishes, the Grana Padano DOP is used in the preparation of various recipes. The best way to appreciate its characteristic flavor and structure however, is to serve it alone, possibly with just a drop of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena) aged for at least 12 years, and a chunk of good, freshly baked bread. It excellent served with diverse types of fruits as well. Though it pairs well with medium aged quality red wines, the Grana Padano DOP is very versatile and it is appreciated paired with white and sparkling wines as well.

Served as an hors d'oeuvre, it pairs excellently with Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC, Soave DOC, Oltrepò Pavese, Riesling Italico Spumante, Spumante Trentino.

Served at the end of the meal it pairs perfectly with Lambrusco, Oltrepò Pavese, Barbera, Bonarda, Gutturnio, Teroldego Rotaliano.

  • Production Zone:
    In the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, excluding the part of Mantua south of the Po river), Emilia Romagna, with the exclusion of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and the part of Bologna on the left bank of the Reno river), Veneto (excluding the province of Belluno) and Trentino.
  • Producers' Organization:
    Consorzio Grana Padano
    Via Tommaso da Cazzaniga, 9/4
    20121 Milano

Grana Trentino DOP (Trentino)

Trentingrana

Characteristics of the Product
Similar to the Grana Padano DOP, the Grana Trentino DOP is a cooked, semi-fat, hard cheese which requires lengthy preparation and long ageing. It is produced with raw milk from two different milkings, with the addition of serum and curd.

The wheels are salted in brine, and their ageing lasts around two years.

The finished product is wheel-shaped, with a diameter of about 45 centimeters (17.71 inches), height from 25 to 30 centimeters (9.34 to 13.77 inches) and weights around 35 kilos (around 77.16 pounds). The interior is fine and grainy, straw yellow in color, and tends to break radially into flakes.

Grana Trentino DOP

Beside the mandatory branding which identifies this type of cheese, the Grana Trentino DOP rind is smooth, dark yellow in color, and 4 to 7 centimeters (1.57 to 2.75 inches) thick. The aroma and flavor are fragrant and delicate.

Use and Wine Pairing
Served as an hors d'oeuvre, it pairs well with Spumante Trentino.
When served at the end of the meal it pairs excellently with Marzemino d'Isera or Teroldego Rotaliano

  • Production Zone:
    Province of Trento
  • Producers' Organization:
    Centro Operativo Trentigrana
    Segno di Taio (Trento)
    tel. 0463 469256 - fax 0463 468761


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