Guide to Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano

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Photo courtesy of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano–Reggiano and the Parmigiano Reggiano Night at Eataly NYC
The last step in the cheese making process - the label. Photo courtesy of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano–Reggiano and the Parmigiano Reggiano Night at Eataly NYC
a cheese festival in Modena Italy.  thanks to wikivisual for the phot
a cheese festival in Modena Italy. thanks to wikivisual for the phot

Guide to Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano

Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard Italian, cow’s milk (during production the milk may not be older than one day), cheese produced in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna all south of the Po River in Emilia-Romagna as well as in the Mantova area in Lombardia north of the Po River.  Parmigiano referring to the city of Parma and Reggiano of course references Reggio Emilia.   Parmigiano Reggiano is made via a, time honored, 13 step process.  Parmigiano Reggiano is the longest aged of hard Italian cheeses—24 months, on average, but can also be purchased as a 12 month and 36 month aged product.  See the following  article on making Parma cheese from the New England Cheese Making Supply Company

Grana Padano which is very similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano is produced primarily in the Lombardia region of Italy.  Grana contains less fat and is aged less than Parmigiano-Reggiano, moreover the cows may have a different diet and the milk processed for a longer period of time.  I often use Grana for grating because it’s less expensive than Parmigiano-Reggiano and has a very similar flavor and texture.

Photo courtesy of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano–Reggiano and the Parmigiano Reggiano Night at Eataly NYC
Photo courtesy of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano–Reggiano and the Parmigiano Reggiano Night at Eataly NYC

Both Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano are, of course, not just suitable for grating on pasta but also wonderful table cheeses.  In fact, I’d argue it’s more appropriate to enjoy a chunk of the aforementioned cheeses with fruits and nuts after a meal than it is with pasta!  You could also serve Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano with some aged balsamic vinegar.

Grana Padano on the left and Parmigiano Reggiano on the right
Grana Padano on the left and Parmigiano Reggiano on the right
Photo courtesy of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano–Reggiano and the Parmigiano Reggiano Night at Eataly NYC
Photo courtesy of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano–Reggiano and the Parmigiano Reggiano Night at Eataly NYC
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