Grana cheese is actually Grana Padano cheese. "Grana" is an abbreviation of Grana Padano. This cheese is an Italian semi-fat, hard cheese with a finely grained texture. It is pale yellow in color and has a delicate flavor. Produced in a cylindrical shape, it is then cut and sold in wedges. It is made from top quality milk from cows that have been fed and raised under strict guidelines. Grana Padano is a registered trademark name given to cheese that is made in certain geographical regions of Italy. Grana Padano P.D.O. was granted its P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) status by the European Union in 1996. The cheese must be produced under strict regulations, which are certified by the Consorzio. It may also be found named Grana cheese as an abbreviation of Grana Padano.
Grana Padano is considered an excellent grating cheese, which makes it a great complement to many foods, such as salads and pasta. It is also a good melting cheese for cooking. Grana Padano is very similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano but has been aged for less time and has a more delicate flavor. It is also less expensive than Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is produce only during a specific time of the year. Grana Padano is more readily available because it is produced all year round.
When shopping for "Grana" or "Grana Padano" cheese, it may be possible to find cheeses that are branded as “Grana” but have not been certified by the Consorzio as being true Grana Padano cheese. In these cases, the cheeses have been misbranded and are incorrectly labeled.
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