The word Grana means "grainy" or "granular", this is how the cheese looks when it is cut open. Grana Padano, an Italian cow's milk cheese would be easily recognized for another reason - the wheel is enormous, usually ranging from 70 to 88 pounds. Controlled by the Grana Padana Consorzio Zanetti, Grana Padano is aged a minimum of 18-months. It carries a mark on the cheese. This is a special four leaf clover and indicates the province of origin. Look for the Zanetti mark to ensure you are buying the best. Grana Padano could be called the body builder. It is low in fat and very high in protein and calcium. It is easily digested because during the maturation process the proteins are broken down into amino acids. The cheese is made in Northern Italy around the Po Valley.
Other Italian cheeses: