When it comes to Italian cheese, Grana Padano and Parmesan are two popular choices that often get mixed up. While they share some similarities, there are also distinct differences that set them apart.
So, is Grana Padano cheese like Parmesan? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Grana Padano Cheese?
Grana Padano is a hard Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. It originated in the Po River Valley region of northern Italy and has been produced for over 900 years. The texture of Grana Padano is firm and granular, making it perfect for grating.
What is Parmesan Cheese?
Parmesan, or Parmigiano-Reggiano as it’s known in Italy, is also a hard Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. It comes from the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy and has been produced for over 800 years. The texture of Parmesan is similar to Grana Padano – firm and granular – but it has a slightly nuttier flavor.
How are they Different?
While both cheeses share similarities in texture and flavor, there are some differences worth noting:
- Ingredients: While both cheeses are made from cow’s milk, the cows used for Grana Padano are fed a diet of hay and grass while those used for Parmesan are fed a diet that includes whey.
- Region: Grana Padano comes from the Po River Valley while Parmesan comes from Emilia-Romagna.
- Aging: Both cheeses are aged for at least 12 months but Parmesan must be aged for at least 24 months to be considered authentic.
How to Use Grana Padano and Parmesan?
Both cheeses are commonly used as a topping for pasta dishes, soups, and salads. They can also be grated over vegetables or used as a garnish for meat dishes.
So, is Grana Padano cheese like Parmesan? While they share some similarities in texture and flavor, there are also distinct differences that set them apart. Whether you prefer one over the other is a matter of personal preference, but both cheeses are delicious and versatile in their own right.