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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grana Padano Lactose-Free Cheese

The process of aging cheese drives the lactose out. Aged cheeses are mostly or even entirely lactose-free, and the longer a cheese is aged the lower lactose it is.

This is true for all aged cheeses, but only a few manufacturers are smart enough to make it a selling point. I'm happy to give recognition to one who make a big deal of it.

That cheese is Grana Padano.

Grana Padano has been an integral part of Italy's gastronomic tradition for almost 1,000 years. Now, more and more American consumers know that 'Grana' refers to the grainy, crumbly texture of the cheese and 'Padano' refers to its area of origin in the Po River Valley of Northern Italy. This cow's milk cheese is produced in Lombardia, Emilia Romagna (only the province of Piazenza), Veneto, Piemonte and Trentino (only the province of Trento) and is strictly linked to the areas and territories in which it is made.

This deep straw yellow colored cheese, when mature, has a sweet, nutty flavored taste that can be grated over pasta or shaved on carpaccio or salad while never overpowering other ingredients and flavors in a dish. Aged from nine months to 24 and up, Grana Padano pairs well with a variety of cuisines and makes an ideal part of a healthy diet.

"Low in fat compared to other cheeses, Grana Padano serves as an excellent source of protein and calcium, and is lactose-free," said Elisabetta Serraiotto, who is responsible for Marketing and Communications at the Grana Padano Consortium. "Easy to digest, it's not only perfect for active people, but it is also a great addition to the diet of children, elderly and pregnant women. Moreover, Grana Padano can be served in many different ways, even as part of a light, healthy summer meal."

What is Grana Padano cheese like?
About Grana Padano—www.granapadano.com

Grana Padano has been part of Italy's gastronomic tradition and culture since 1135 when it was created by the monks in the Po River Valley in Northern Italy. Based in Desenzano del Garda in the province of Brescia, the Consortium for the Protection of Grana Padano cheese was founded in 1954 by a group of businessmen who shared one common goal—to produce a top-quality cheese based on the traditional recipe. Today this company encompasses more than 200 Grana Padano producers, maturers and retailers. "Grana" refers the grainy and crumby texture of the cheese and "Padano" refers to its origin on the Po River Valley in Northern Italy. Grana Padano is a registered trademark around the world, and since 1996 is a D.O.P Denominazione di Origine Protetta (P.D.O. in English) cheese awarded by the European Community in Brussels.

Grana Padano cheese can be matured for anything from 9 to over 24 months. This variance in maturity leads to dramatic differences in the flavor and texture of the cheese.

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