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The Grana Padano Dop, the cheese par excellence. Of ancient origin and with the aromatic power with which it stands out, it has become an emblem with unique characteristics which, combined with food and drink, has always provided intense sensations. Its fame, consolidated in Padania, its homeland, is handed down among the Renaissance banquets of princes and dukes. A real real cheese. But do you know that it was a gift worthy of a noble family in the sixteenth century? It was really Isabella D'Este, marquise of Mantua and wife of Francesco II di Gonzaga to have one delivered for his family, the illustrious lords of the Duchy of Ferrara.
But if already in the '500 the Grana Padano enriched the tables of the nobles, representing a food of great wealth, why not honor it even today, especially during the holidays. Playing with the most daring and sophisticated combinations we can obtain truly unusual but certainly delicious and original tastings.
Raise your hand if you do not have a home by now Grana Padano Dop ready to bring to the table, a product with such a pleasant and versatile taste and able to always give new pleasures to the palate. The absolute star of aperitifs and pre desserts.
Are you curious to know its seasoning? We have chosen three in particular, three of the most emblematic and widespread ages of Grana Padano PDO. A 12 months, an 18 and a 24 Riserva that, on our test benches, each of them has found the perfect couple with whom to happily go to a wedding, between combinations with vegetables, chocolate, dried fruit, cold cuts, ideas will not fail to create impeccable tastings leaving your guests speechless.
A delicate 12 months
If you are keen on a more delicate taste in which to savor a soft paste with a short taste persistence, we recommend a Grana Padano Dop 12 months, always accompanying it with something sweet but also crunchy, in line with this younger cheese, thus creating a pleasant contrast. An ad hoc example is a carrot cut into wedges, which dyed in a slightly fruity oil like a Extra Virgin Olive Oil Lakes Lombardi Dop, creates an impeccable combination, continuing to make the delicate flavor of Grana Padano feel on the palate.
Another perfect combination is that with the Cuneo DOP raw ham, which, combined with a sweet apple as the Piedmontese Renetta grigio from Torriana, becomes the right solution for a pre-Christmas aperitif. If, on the other hand, you feel the need to rediscover a distinctly sour but certainly genuine and versatile flavor, you can accompany your Grana Padano with the traditional balsamic vinegar of Reggio Emilia Dop, perhaps combining it with fennel. Always choose the sweeter one with an anise-like taste, so that all flavors can be in harmony.
But what about a pre-dessert? Have you ever experienced the Grana Padano Dop 12 with the White chocolate? Absolutely to try. Buttery and malleable it is perfectly related to it. As well as the delicate scent ofWilliams pear spirit, which, not being excessively alcoholic, reminds us of the famous refrain between cheese and pears, marrying with the sweet notes of white chocolate but without ever dominating the flavor of Grana Padano.
18 months, fragrant and intense
With a complex, buttery scent. Known for an aroma reminiscent of dried fruit and hay, the Grana Padano Dop 18 months it can become the best friend of those who need something tastier and more crumbly. On the palate, a less evident sweetness is perceived and savory notes come forward. And here, along with it, the hazelnuts, that tasted together with Pair of Ferrarese IGP, the so-called “ciupèta”, you will awaken all your senses. Also excellent for pairing with a second dish. We therefore suggest that you try your hand at preparing the Priest's hat, a classic of Italian culinary culture, which garnished with the Voghera mustard with pumpkin it's ours Grana Padano Dop 18, will be your starred chef proof recipe.
"Don't let the farmer know how good cheese is with pears", as the old proverb used to say, but also Grana Padano with clementines and Veneto Berico Euganeo PDO raw ham 24 months, not joking at all. Thanks also to the juicy and turgid winter fruit this trio is scream-proof.
Grana Padano Dop Riserva: strong aromas and crispness
Last but certainly not least, indeed. Ideal for special occasions and gourmet palates, here is the ready to serve Grana Padano Dop 24 months Riserva, with a rich and full but never aggressive taste, always fragrant but at the same time also delicate. In short, the ideal seasoning to procure intense pleasure. To best accompany these characteristics, the choice falls on a medium fruity oil, the Extra Virgin DOP Canino, with marked herbaceous aromas, with a marked bitter and spicy aftertaste, useful for supporting the gustatory vigor and not covering the qualities of Grana Padano Dop. To meet the expectations but always guaranteeing a strong, aromatic and persistent taste is the white celery from Sperlonga Igp, which we love to feel the crunchiness under the teeth.
"Bread and nuts, wedding food" was said so right? But we suggesting the combination of Grana Padano Dop 24 with the softness of nuts combined with the intensity of Altamura Dop bread, we guarantee not only a wedding with all the trimmings, but a true eternal love.
Finally, do you want some advice for the New Year's Eve dinner? Serve our Grana Padano Riserva on the table, accompanied by Cotechino Vanilla adorned by the Cherries Cremonese mustard. A typically Lombard course, this is a holiday treat loved by Italians, worthy to start a year as a gourmet.
Of Elena Strappa
In the mountains of Lombardy, in spring, they are born excellent cheeses goats known above all by the great connoisseurs. The result of a centuries-old tradition, these specialties are particularly interesting because they make use of the milk of breeds raised only in the Lombard valleys with a remarkable diversification of pastures and nutrition, which gives a precise shade of taste and a peculiar character to each cheese. To get to know the panorama of the Lombard goats, you can start from the northernmost valleys of the Varese area that go towards the border with Switzerland.
The fomaggella of Luinese
We are in the hinterland of Luino and on the Lombard shore of Lake Maggiore, the land of production of the Formaggella del Luinese, the only Italian goat cheese exclusively to boast the Dop. It is a product with raw milk, semi-hard paste and white in color, with a delicate flavor that intensifies as the seasoning is lengthened; its production specification provides that the weight varies from 700 to 900 grams and is aged for at least 20 days. Many farms that produce the Formaggella del Luinese have begun to include a particular breed of native goat in the flock, the Verzaschese, characterized by a short, shiny black coat and 30 cm long horns. Among these is Il Vallone by Mattia Crivelli, one of his more than convinced supporters. "Verzaschesi goats are dominant in the flock: they are rustic animals that love to go out to pasture and incite the goats of the other breeds, more accustomed to the sheepfold, to do the same, just as required by the Formaggella specification", says Crivelli In fact, the uniqueness of many animal breeds often correspond to particular food products and today more than ever, protecting one corresponds to enhancing the other. Sondrio and Bergamo also have their own goat star. Orobica breed, widespread in the Orobie Park, which includes the Brembana Valley, and in Valtellina. This precious animal can be recognized for its long, ash gray and beige coat and powerful horns. There is also an association that has the aim of enhancing and protecting its milk and meat.
La Roviola and Matüscin
Ferdinando Quarteroni, founder of the Ferdy Farmhouse in the 1980s (pictured), explains that "there were once essentially three Orobica goat cheeses that were produced in the Brembana Valley and are the same that we offer today in our farmhouse: the Roviola, a soft cheese, i Formagit, small and flowery rind, and above all the Matüscin, which is produced only with the summer milk scented with herbs of the season. In addition, the ability of this goat to graze in alpine areas, inaccessible and difficult to reach, allows you to take advantage of unused hectares of pasture and keep the mountain clean ". Alfio Sassella, who with his wife Sonia Marioli, establishes the Cavizzola mountain pasture in the upper Val Brembana, is also certain. "The Orobica goat chases flowers and buds, its milk is a sort of distillate", he explains, "we use it in quantities of about 20% in the historic Rebel, a long-aged cheese, to be consumed between 3 and 6 years ".
Fatulì and Mascarpin
Val Saviore, a perpendicular of Val Camonica, in Bresciano, is also home to fine dairy products: Fatulì and Mascarpin. The Fatulì is a smoked cheese with green juniper branches, the Mascarpin it is a ricotta which is stored for a few days in special bags and sometimes smoked. Their production is closely linked to the goat Bionda dell'Adamello which, in the members of the Maffeis family, has found the most convinced supporters. Arturo, the pater familias speaks: "This valley has been displacing in the post-war period, leaving uncultivated areas, empty huts and a goat breed at the mercy of itself, as few families have continued their agricultural and dairy activities". Fortunately, when the spotlight turned on biodiversity, we began to want to get to know the Bionda dell'Adamello better, a medium-length fawn-haired goat, whose attitude is to live in a semi-wild state, a characteristic that contributes to obtain a particularly fragrant milk.
Il Vallone farm
Via Molino Galli 4, Cuveglio (Va) tel. 347 9712918
It produces the Formaggella del Luinese Dop with Verzaschesi goat milk.
Via San Pietro 12, Rancio Valcuvia (Va), tel. 338 1017119
Its owner is responsible for the recognition of the Dop of the Formaggella del Luinese.
Location Fienili, Lenna (Bg) tel. 0345 82235 agriturismoferdy.com
Production of historic goats from the Brembana Valley.
Sonia Marioli farm
via Clemente Valenti 16, Talamona (So), tel. 339 8478035
Renowned for the legendary rebel historian.
Via Pozzuolo 1 Cevo (Bs), tel. 0364 634634659
In Val Saviore it produces Fatulì and Mascarpin.
foto Mountain Community of the Verbano Valleys and Agriturismo Ferdy
on Sale & Pepe of May 2020
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