Grana Padano D.O.P (POD) - what does it mean?
Each time we open a pack of Grana Padano, generally we do not notice the three little letters that follow the name of the product. The name “Grana Padano PDO” contains the guarantee that we always find a certified and controlled product on our table that originates from the secular tradition and experience of the dairy families.
PDO – Meaning
PDO is an acronym: it means Protected Designation of Origin. This is a branding of legal protection given by the European Union to groceries that have specific characteristics, which exclusively depend on the place where they are produced. In simple terms, it certificates that Grana Padano is produced with ingredients that exclusively come from a designated geographical area and it guarantees that the producers follow determined instructions during the process of production.
How is Grana Padano PDO produced?
The quality that makes Grana Padano a PDO product depends on various characteristics such as height, diameter, weight, bulges, color and consistency of the cheese crust, and the consistency of the texture. In addition, the chemical composition has to respect some standards, determinated by the Consortium for the Protection of GRANA PADANO cheese and by the Ministry of Agriculture. This certification is very specific, but to make it simple we will only describe the most important elements.
The whole PDO Grana is exclusively made in Italy, and the production is permitted only in the provinces of Alessandria, Asti, Biella, Cuneo, Novara, Turin, Verbania, Vercelli, Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Mantua to the left of the Po, Milan, Monza, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese, Trento, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso, Venice, Verona, Vicenza, Bologna to the right of the Reno, Ferrara, Forli, Cesena, Piacenza, Ravenna e Rimini, as well as the municipalities of the province of Bolzano: Anterivo, Lauregno, Proves, Senale-S. Felice and Trodena.
Nutrition of cows
The feeding of our cows, that are the first producers of Grana Padano, is very important because the taste of the milk depends on it and therefore also the taste of our cheese. The Consortium rules determine that the cows have to be fed with green or stored fodder or food coming from the home farm or from places in the production area of Grana Padano PDO.
Grana Padano PDO is produced with raw milk from cows that are milked twice a day. The collection of the milk must take place within 24 hour starting from the first milking.
Grana Padano PDO cannot be sold on the market before 9 months of maturation in a controlled environment. Furthermore, the cheese cannot achieve the denomination of “Grana Padano Reserve” if the maturation period of 20 months has not passed.
How to get certificated?
The wheels of cheese that have at least 9 months of maturation are examined by the experts of the Consortium with the traditional tools: little hammer, needle and probe. Only the wheels that pass this quality control will be fire-branded and put on the market or left to maturate until it reaches the intended result.