Grana (cheese)

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Grana is a type of hard, mature cheese from Italy with a granular texture, often used for grating. Grana cheeses are typically made in the form of large wheels. The structure is often described as crystalline, and the wheels are divided by being split with a fairly blunt almond-shaped knife designed for the purpose, rather than being sliced, cut or sawn. Within the European Union the term Grana is legally protected by Grana Padano Protected Designation of Origin; only Grana Padano may be sold using the term in EU countries.[1]

The two best-known examples of grana-type cheeses are Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano. The two cheeses are broadly similar, with the latter being less sharp, crumbly and grainy.

The main difference between the two is that cows producing Parmigiano-Reggiano eat only grass and cereals—no silage, no preservatives, and no antibiotics. Cows that have been treated with antibiotics are suspended from production of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano. Silage is a fermented forage that requires the addition of a natural preservative (lysozyme) to Grana Padano. Feeding of silage and addition of lysozyme are forbidden in production of Trentingrana and Parmigiano-Reggiano.[2]

A Tagliagrana (Grana Cutter)

Other Grana cheeses include:

Grana cheeses typically contain cheese crystals, semi-solid to gritty crystalline spots that at least partially consist of the amino acid tyrosine.


Grana originally described a type of hard cheese from the Po Valley (Valle Padana) in Northern Italy, with a distinctive granular texture—the word "grana" in Italian means "grain".[3]


  1. ^ "Grana è solo Padano" (Grana is only Padano.), Consorzio per la tutela del Formaggio Grana Padano (in Italian)
  2. ^ "Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano - Particular aspects and specifications". Consorzio Tutela Grana Padano. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  3. ^ Gillingham, Sara Kate (October 8, 2008). "A Primer on Grana Padano". Retrieved September 10, 2016.